By Golden Sibanda
Nestle Zimbabwe has set its sights on regional markets for its range of products from the newly commissioned filling and packaging production lines for smaller and more affordable pack sizes of some of its leading brands.
The company’s new manufacturing lines, funded from a $30 million investment programme that began in 2011, produce Cerevita sachets 30 grammes, with more vitamin and micro-nutrients, Cerevita flakes with milk 45g, Cremora 40g teapot size sachets and Nestle everyday tea 25g packs.
Managing director for Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi Mr Ben Ndiaye said at the commissioning of the lines yesterday that apart from serving the local market, the company sought to exploit opportunities in the regional markets.
The Swiss headquartered cereals, nutritious and wellness foods manufacturer intends to explore export market opportunities in Zambia, Kenya, South Africa and Malawi for its new range of smaller and cheaply priced popular brands.
“Selling these products in Zimbabwe is not the only ambition we have. We would like to export and have the opportunity to work with our business development manager for Zambia, a young Zimbabwean, who was with us one year ago, but is now running the business in Zambia.
“We also want to sell in Malawi. I have visited the neighbourhoods of Malawi and I am sure that it’s time we exported to this country. We are also discussing with our colleagues from Nairobi who are helping us to take these products to South Africa because there are a lot of neighbourhoods there and remember there (also) are opportunities in Botswana and Mozambique,” Mr Ndiaye said.
Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha said Nestle had made great technological strides as evidenced by the commissioning of the upgraded and refurbished milk and creamers production plants to global standards two years ago.
“You have managed to maintain the growth momentum and today we are celebrating once again Nestle’s capital investment journey by officially commissioning filling and packaging machinery for affordable products,” the minister said.
He said the new product range was an exciting development, not only for Nestle Zimbabwe’s leading drive to grow its footprint in the country, but for the company’s role in contributing to employment and job creation along the entire value chain from farmers to industry. Nestle contends that the investment into expanding its production capacity will generate foreign currency and help reduce the country’s balance of payment deficit, create more jobs and support the growth of the small companies.
Mr Ndiaye said the company used local packaging suppliers and used local raw materials such as maize; local fresh milk from Nestle supported dairy farmers and expected to continue partnering with farmers going forward.
By unveiling the range of nutritious, tasty and affordable products retailing below 50 cents, Mr Ndiaye said Nestle was proud to be embracing the purpose of the company, which is enhancing quality of life and creating a healthier future.
He said Nestle, which has operated in Zimbabwe for 58 years, was still strongly committed to operate in the country and participate in economic growth, job creation and looked forward to years of accelerated industry growth.