Snacks maker turns to local materials

SNACKS manufacturer Davipel Holdings says it has reduced its foreign currency requirements by using locally available raw materials.

BY MISHMA CHAKANYUKA

Davipel has been importing most of its raw materials, which include olive oil, maize grits and flavours, adding pressure to the country’s forex demand .

Managing director Davison Norupiri told journalists during a tour of the company’s plant in Harare last Friday that the company had come up with import substitution strategies as well as plans to increase exports in order to generate foreign currency.

“We have been importing maize grits at the rate of 45 tonnes per day, so we decided to ease our wallet in terms of forex and also the national wallet and we decided to invest into a grits manufacturing plant, which is the only grit manufacturing plant in the country at the moment and maize meal is our by-product, ” he said.

“We invested into a grit plant, which is now producing 220 tonnes per day and that grit plant gives us all our grits, so we have since stopped importing maize and we are using our local maize and our local raw materials in the value chain to produce a product which we really want.

“We were using almost about $400 000 per month to import maize grits, so we reduced that to zero because of those initiatives. Out of the total forex which we want, we have actually reduced it by more than half as a company.”

Norupiri said the company was also working on plans to acquire two of its major raw materials, oil and flavours locally.

“On the issue of oil, it’s something which we are also still working on. We have got plans to really also start buying soyabeans and also investing into the farmers who are doing soyabeans so that we can take those soyabeans and cotton seed to the local oil expressers for them to give us oil. Flavours we
import them again from South Africa and we are setting up a flavouring plant,” he said.

On exports, the company is producing gem meal (a mixture of maize bran and the gem), which is being exported to South Africa at 60 tonnes per day.
Industry and Commerce minister Mangaliso Ndlovu who also toured the Davipel plant said he was impressed by the company’s
initiatives.

“I commend the efforts you are making on import substitution and also on exports. Yes, we do need foreign currency here and there, but where possible, let us try and promote uptake of local production so that we use as less foreign currency as we possibly can,” Ndlovu said.

Davipel is the largest snack manufacturing company in Zimbabwe.

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