SCHWEPPES Zimbabwe’s fruit processing and juice blending division — Beitbridge Juicing — targets to process 25 000 tonnes of fruit in 2018, up 67% compared to the figures it achieved last year.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Schweppes Zimbabwe’s marketing and public affairs director, Unaiswi Nleya-Nyikadzino told NewsDay in an interview that the figures were, however, dependent on fruit supplies from the farms.
“In 2017 we received 15 000 tonnes of fruit, so that’s what we processed. Our target was obviously much higher than that but we are limited by the fruit stock that we are getting. So this year we are hoping we can get up to 25 000 tonnes, but it’s all dependent on fruit supplies from the farms,” she said.
“It’s usually the B grade fruit. The A grade fruit is sold into the fresh fruit market and then what we process is the B grade fruit. So you find that with the high (pack-out rates) and the quality of fresh production in Zimbabwe it ends up having more A grade than we do B grade, which then can affect the deliveries that we get from our current farmers.”
Nleya-Nyikadzino said their vision was to increase citrus plantations as well as contracting farmers that are into citrus.
“For us, the long-term vision is to increase the number of plantations and the number of farmers that are in citrus because it’s very lucrative not just for us but for the farmer as well,” she said.
“Citruses are value-high products, so the more farmers that can invest in citrus on a commercial scale the better it is for the country as a whole.”
The company, Nleya-Nyikadzino said, would focus on agribusiness this year as part of its expansion drive.
“This year, we don’t really have expansion plans, I think we are just going to focus more in terms of our agribusiness,” she said.
“So we are looking at not only just contracted farms but we are looking at leasing some farms that we can manage ourselves so that we have a blend of our own farms that we are managing and also the contracted farmers coming in. So that is the expansion that we are looking at in terms of agribusiness.”
Schweppes, a manufacturer and distributor of non-carbonated still beverages, acquired 100% of Beitbridge Juicing, a supplier of orange concentrate, orange oil, orange essence oil, grapefruit juice and grapefruit oil in 2014.
Its product portfolio includes cordials, fruit juices, bottled water, and flavoured drinks. These products are marketed under Mazoe, Minute Maid, Schweppes water and Ripe n Ready brands, among others.