HARARE – Nestle Zimbabwe says it will continuously invest in increasing its manufacturing capacity and introducing new products as part of efforts to rebuild the country’s economy.
This comes as the Swiss-based food giant has invested close to $20 million in the refurbishment and upgrading of the cereals and Milo plants and introduction of new products.
“Nestle has been in Zimbabwe for over 54 years in both good times and crisis times, positively contributing to the economic growth and employment creation in the country.
“We look forward to many more years of growth as we participate in the re-building of the economy especially restoration of the manufacturing sector,” said Kumbirayi Katsande, Nestle’s Equatorial Africa region south cluster manager at the open day held last Friday.
He added that over and above the new investments in Zimbabwe, Nestlé launched a $14 million Dairy Empowerment Scheme in 2011 whose main objective is to rebuild the dairy industry in Zimbabwe.
“2 000 dairy cows for large scale commercial farmers and 2 000 dairy cows for the small scale farmers are being imported in support of this scheme which will run for the next five years,” said Katsande.
The company also took the opportunity to award dairy farmers who have excelled during the course of the year where Sheila Mugabe of Brentor Farm in Hwedza clinched the dairy farmer of the year award while Clive Heathcote of Waitiri Farm in Marondera walked away with the promising farmer of the year accolade.
Speaking after receiving the award, Mugabe expressed gratitude to Nestle’s efforts to support dairy farmers in their quest to increase milk output through its Dairy empowerment scheme.
“Our partnership with Nestle is really good. It’s a win-win situation. We are happy to be progressing well and this will inspire us to do even better next year,” said Mugabe.
She added that they had purchased 100 heifers from South Africa to boost milk production and were planning to expand their milk parlour by next year.
Mugabe, however, said their main challenge was inadequate stock feed which has been affected by persistent dry spells experienced over the past few years.
Heathcote said he has been working with Nestle over the last two years and was already realising the benefits of shared synergies.
“It’s a real privilege to be recognised by Nestle. It shows how we are working along. We want to expand our current herd of 75 milk cows and to make the project viable we need to get to 150 by next year,” he said.
The Nestlé Open Day is an annual event and provides the company an opportunity to open its doors to its key publics by bringing them all together.