Dairoboard readies for Covid-19

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DAIRIBORD Holdings (Dairibord) says it has put in place risk mitigation measures to ensure consistent supply of products in response to the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) outbreak.

The milk producer said its processing technology is such that all products are exposed to sterilisation temperatures that render the intrinsic product safe from disease causing organisms such as Covid-19.

“We are working with all our suppliers and other critical stakeholders in an effort to avoid disruption of operations and to ensure consistent supply of our products and in the event of an outbreak, the business has a plan in place to assure continuity,” the company said yesterday.

This comes as fears of Covid-19 have affected major companies and have also rocked major markets, with stock prices and bond yields plunging to levels last seen 30 years ago.

Local matters are not being helped by the fact that Harare’s economy is already in a tailspin — with annual inflation for February as measured by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency at 540 percent.

The country’s tourism sector is the hardest hit.

Patrick Imam, the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s representative to Zimbabwe, also said the coronavirus outbreak had “all the ingredients to be another exogenous shock, like the drought, which is not of Zimbabwe’s making, yet has a significant negative impact on the country’s economy”.

“Tourism will be mostly impacted negatively,” he said, adding that this was because of the current global anxiety and uncertainty about the pandemic,” he said.

While the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) estimates that between US$50 and $100 billion will be lost by the global travel industry, the entire local business — and economy — has already started catching a cold from the virus.

There is also particular concern about Zimbabwe’s tobacco marketing season, as China accounts for nearly 50 percent of the country’s annual sales — a major source of forex for cash-strapped Harare.

The country’s tobacco marketing season will be delayed this year after the government last week declared the coronavirus pandemic a national “disaster”.

Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) chief executive Andrew Matibiri said his organisation has approached the Health ministry “seeking an urgent response for leadership and guidance on measures that industry stakeholders should institute to prevent or control any real and potential outbreaks of the disease”.

The 2020 golden leaf marketing season is expected to help ease Zimbabwe’s acute foreign currency shortages, which has seen the southern African country struggling to procure fuel, raw materials and important chemicals and drugs.

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