THE personal care industry faces collapse and is currently operating at 15% capacity utilisation due to economic challenges, Personal Care Manufacturers’ Association secretary Gabriel Vembe has said.
The personal care industry specialises in the manufacturing of consumer products in personal hygiene and for beautification including cosmetics, fragrances, skin care, nutritional supplements, and over-the-counter medications.
Speaking at the Buy Zimbabwe Retailers and Suppliers Conference in Harare on Tuesday, Vembe said the industry was now employing 300 from a high of 2 000 in 2012.
“The personal care industry is on the verge of collapse and is currently operating at 15% capacity utilisation. Some of the companies have already shut down and others are operating three days a week,” Vembe said.
He said the sector had capacity to meet demand of the local market. Vembe said there were 33 local personal care companies, but were being pushed out of business by the influx of cheap imports from the neighbouring countries.
He, however, appealed to the retailers to review its account payments dates to 30 days from the current 70-day schedule.
“The personal care industry is struggling, we appeal to retailers to review down the account payments to 30 days from the day of delivery,” he said.
The local manufacturers are currently lobbying for 60% retail shelf space for their goods with the aim to create a level playing field in the market to be able to compete against imported products.
OK Zimbabwe chief operating officer Albert Katsande said there were a lot of improvements in the manufacturing sector and a number of companies were seizing the opportunities. He, however, said local manufacturers should double the production to be able to meet the local demand and fill up supermarket shelves.
“We measure readiness through adequate customer who will benchmark the product with imported competitors’ products and previously available local product,” Katsande said
“We are ready in a number of key categories, but also not ready and in some cases.”
He said there are opportunities to grow the local market as currently there was no toothpaste manufacturing company in Zimbabwe.
Katsande said there was need for more manufacturing capacity for towels, baby products, biscuits, toilet products, soups and household cleaners.
He, however, said the country was currently importing biscuits from Zambia which Zimbabwe used to export.