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Forex shortages hit Probrands unit


PROBRANDS managing director, Calum Philp revealed that the main challenge faced by the group’s subsidiary Prodairy was foreign currency for in importing packaging for its ultra-high temperature (UHT) milk products from South Africa.


During a tour of their Prodairy plant in Ruwa on Friday, Philp said the packaging could only come from outside the country, as it was specialised.

“Packaging comes from outside Zimbabwe from South Africa. What makes that packaging special is that 90% of the product is paper unlike the ones you find here in Zimbabwe.

This means that every month, we need a certain amount of foreign currency, which I would say is probably the only challenge we (Prodairy) have,” he said.

The three UHT milk products that use the packaging are Prodairy’s full cream, lactose free and low fat one litre milk cartons. Prodairy also uses the packaging for four other brands that the company produces milk for.

The packaging is special in that it can withstand the heat used in processing the UHT milk due to it containing 90% paper.

UHT processing used for Prodairy’s milk products is a technology that sterilises liquid food, chiefly milk, by heating it above 135 °C — the temperature required to kill spore in milk — for one to two seconds.

Philp said in processing UHT milk products, they heat the milk to 140°C for four seconds, which gives it a “better and unique taste”.
Prodairy, a subsidiary of the Probrands group, was established at the beginning of the year.

The company has capacity to produce three million litres of milk products per month, but is only operating at 55% capacity and processing 1,5 million to 1,6 million litres.

From 2016 to date, Probrands has spent $4 million on new machinery and equipment at the Prodairy plant.

“Prodairy, for us, is the birth of Zimbabwe’s newest and one of the biggest dairy processing plants,” Philp said.

Probrands is one of many companies struggling to access foreign currency in the country as it is currently in short supply.

In his 2018 monetary policy statement, central bank governor John Mangudya said the bank was enhancing the nostro stabilisation facilities by $400 million to help foreign currency payments outside the country, among other issues.

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