Andile Tshuma, Business Correspondent
INDUSTRY and Commerce Deputy Minister Raj Modi has urged local breweries to maximise on exporting as local liquor products are being smuggled into neighbouring countries.
He made the remarks during his recent tour of Delta’s Fairbridge Chibuku Super Plant in Bulawayo.
“A good number of Zimbabweans in neighbouring countries and indeed citizens of those countries take Chibuku, therefore, Chibuku breweries should take its market place and not leave it to smugglers,” he said.
“Chibuku breweries, is the biggest opaque beer manufacturing company in the country and should consider exporting their products that are currently being smuggled to neighbouring countries.
“This will go a long way in helping the company to generate forex,” said Deputy Minster Modi.
He said the presence of Zimbabwean products in small shops in neighbouring countries showed that there was a gap that could be filled in the market.
“If you go to neighbouring countries such as South Africa, Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia and even Tanzania, you will find Chibuku in the streets. This shows that the product has a market and companies can generate forex through exports. We must think bigger than just serving the local market. This is not only for Chibuku but for other breweries and companies in general; there are a lot of opportunities in exporting,” he said.
The opaque beer plant was operating at 50 percent capacity utilisation from 92 percent in November last year largely due to foreign currency shortage.
Briefing Deputy Minister Modi before the tour of the plant, Fairbridge, brewery manager Mr Witness Nkuziwalela said while the plant was largely procuring its major raw materials locally, it required foreign currency to import other raw materials and critical components such as spare parts.
Mr Nkuziwalela bemoaned the forex shortages which he said were largely affecting operations at the plant.
The Fairbridge plant employs 106 workers while 80 others were stationed at its distribution networks in Beitbridge, Victoria Falls, Shangani and Plumtree.
In the past few years, Delta invested $21 million on its Fairbridge Chibuku Super plant in an effluent pipeline, which serves some communities in Umguza District.