By Michael Tome and Kudakwashe Mhundwa
Schweppes Zimbabwe Limited intends to expand tomato and orange outgrower schemes as the company continues to bolster participation of locals in product value chain.
The development comes at a time when the firm began Mazoe Orange Crush exports to Zambia in order to enhance foreign currency earnings.
In an interview, Schweppes Zimbabwe Ltd General Manager Demos Mbauya indicated that the company was in the process of broadening its supply base for tomato and orange processing plants therefore needed to develop outgrower schemes for the respective crops.
“We are planning to increase tomato and orange outgrower schemes through our agribusiness side.
“We also need to expand our sourcing for orange business and that has an impact on downstream outgrowers, therefore we anticipate growth in capacity of outgrower scheme,” said Mr Mbauya.
The move is part of the company’s initiative to incorporate local farmers in Schweppes’ value chain at the same time promoting import substitution for the raw material they use hence reserving foreign currency. This endeavour of local sourcing is maintainable as it attracts lesser transportation costs and duty requirements.
“We have taken a deliberate policy as a company that local players participate in our value chain because that is more sustainable. I mentioned earlier about local sourcing and import substitution hence reducing pressure on available foreign currency,” said Mr Mbauya.
Schweppes Zimbabwe has implemented a slight increase in their products prices to cope with the growing cost of production in an environment that has been hostile to businesses in the last quarter of 2018.
“There has been volatility on pricing and despite all that, we have remained steadfast in terms of pricing although we have put an incremental cost considering the rise in cost of production. We have, however, tried to make sure that our product remains available,” said Mr Mbauya.
Schweppes is the manufacturer and distributor of non-carbonated, still beverages under licence from The Coca-Cola Company.
Their product portfolio currently includes cordials, fruit juices, bottled water and flavoured drinks. These products are marketed under well renowned brand names; Mazoe, Minute Maid and Schweppes Water.
source: the herald