Tawanda Musarurwa Senior Reporter
President Mnangagwa yesterday commissioned Innscor Africa Holdings’ Prodairy Milk Processing Plant in Ruwa.
The Prodairy factory becomes Zimbabwe’s third UHT Processing Plant after Dairibord and Dendairy.
President Mnangagwa said investment into the new plant was critical in helping the country cover its milk consumption gap.
“We welcome the investment into the processing plant, which is set to stimulate several benefits across the entire value chain.
“The statistics, which you have just given that Zimbabwe’s per capita milk consumption is around 7 litres show that we are really behind. We need to leapfrog and catch up with the rest of the continent. But it also presents lots of opportunities in this sector,” he said.
“I am advised that this plant produces fast-moving diary and dairy-related products. This is a commendable response by Prodairy to my Government’s thrust towards value addition and beneficiation of local resources.”
He added that it was important that the company appropriately prices its new products.
Rampant speculative pricing has been seen in the local retail sector in recent weeks.
“It is our hope that the company’s products will enter the domestic market at favourable prices thereby widening consumer choice,” said President Mnangagwa.
Official figures show that as at the end of September 2018, Zimbabwe’s milk output stood at 48 million litres, out of annualised demand of 120 million litres, showing significant growth opportunities in the local milk sector.
Last year, national dairy production was 67 million litres.
Innscor chairman Mr Addington Chinake, said the company is targeting raw milk purchases of around one million litres a month.
President Mnangagwa urged the Innscor Group and other private sector players to create more job opportunities.
“I once again appeal to both the private and public sectors to positively play their part towards the attainment of Vision2030.
“In that regard, I invite the Innscor Group to continuously broaden their investment portfolio, sensitive to the need to create decent jobs, broaden empowerment opportunities for women, youth and SMEs.
“I also urge you to deliberately create partnerships along the entire agriculture value chain.”
Innscor Group CEO Mr Julian Schonken, said the group has so far invested around $36 million in growing its portfolio.
“The plant and our backward integration project in the dairy sector is a perfect example of bringing the value added process to Zimbabwe to help the country reduce its dependence on imports and create employment. It shows we have the ability to produce world-class fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) products right here in Zimbabwe.
“Our homegrown and proudly Zimbabwean group continues to invest in light manufacturing platforms locally. During our last financial year invested over $36 million in various capital expenditure projects. We now have in excess of 7 500 employees across all our light manufacturing platforms,” he said.