Nestlé Zimbabwe’s $8 million milk powder and Cremora plant has been commissioned, a development set to significantly boost output.
BY VICTORIA MTOMBA
Speaking at the commissioning of the milk powders and Cremora plant yesterday, Industry and Commerce minister, Mike Bimha said the new plant showed Nestlé’s commitment to the country and urged other companies to follow suit.
“We have been invited to commission a $8 million project, which has increased production capacity of milk powders [Nido and Everyday] and creamers [Cremora]. The expansion in milk powders and Cremora manufacturing line comes at a time when many Zimbabwe companies are struggling or closing mostly because of lack of capitalisation,” he said.
Cremora output is expected to increase from 6 000 tonnes to 8 000 tonnes annually.
Nestlé Zimbabwe has so far invested $30 million for the plant upgrade and refurbishments since 2011.
Capacity utilisation of the manufacturing sector has been declining since 2012 and is now at 34,3%. Bimha said the low levels of capacity utilisation have resulted in the influx of goods from other countries.
He said at its peak, the manufacturing sector used to contribute 25% to gross domestic product, but today it was only accounting for less than 10%. Bimha said the sector was important to the economy, as it absorbed 60% of the agriculture sector.
He said despite the various challenges, Nestlé has remained resilient.
Nestlé south cluster manager, Ben Ndiaye said the commissioning of the new plant will see the company focusing on meeting local demand and then look at exports.
“We are trying to understand the Malawian and Zambian markets. We are already exporting Cerelac, Cerevita and soon will be in a position to export Cremora to Zambia,” he said.
Nidaye said the uptake of the cereals in Zambia has been good and going forward, the company will look at developing new products that could meet the need of low income groups in Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Nestlé has been in Zimbabwe for over 56 years where it is producing milk powders, creamers, cereal production and many other products.