Nestle to set up cereal plant, Milo to be back on shelves

Nestle is currently installing a new cereal plant, which will see the company doubling its cereal production volumes by mid-year. Speaking in an interview, the Nestle Zimbabwe country manager, Kumbirayi Katsande said the new plant will bring an end to the current cereal woes in the country.

“We are currently installing a new plant in the country which should see us doubling our volumes in a bid to meet our local and regional demands. Our cereal division is currently operating at 90% capacity,” he said. Katsande, however, could not disclose the current volumes being produced by the Nestle Zimbabwe cereal division.

He attributed the current cereal shortages to the company’s products being smuggled out of the country.

“We are having problems with our cereals being exported out of the country without our consent, this has fuelled the current cereal shortages. The most affected product is our Cerevita brand, which is constantly being smuggled to other countries where there are Zimbabwean residents. International markets that are constantly receiving Cerevita include South Africa, Australia and the United Kingdom,” he said.

Katsande further said the company will soon resume manufacturing the popular Milo brand. Production of Milo ceased last year to pave way for the mordenisation of the plant. All supplies were being imported from South Africa.

Nestle has also introduced the 3 in 1 Re-coffee product which is currently being fed into to the Zimbabwean and South African markets.

Meanwhile, Nestle launched the second phase of its dairy empowerment program yesterday by giving away 100 imported dairy heifers to identified new farmers joining the Nestle’ program. The company will also be distributing 146 milking cows sourced locally to contracted farmers.

Speaking at the launch at Waitiri Farm in Marondera, Katsande said the program is part of their compliance with the indigenisation and economic empowerment legislation.

“Everyone knows that we have not yet settled our indigenisation and economic empowerment issues. However we are glad that people are seeing the good work that we are doing. Some of the local financial institutions and youth bodies have approached us to partner with them in this lucrative initiative. Whatever we choose to do with the empowerment program, it should fully utilise the existing facilities,” said Katsande.

Katsande said last year Nestle Zimbabwe imported 200 heifers of which 100 were distributed to contract dairy farmers supplying milk to Nestle factory in Southerton, Harare.

Zimbabwe has the capacity to produce 500 million litres of milk per year but is currently producing 50 million litres. Its high was in 1996 at 260 million litres.

Katsande said during the high milk production era the country had over 200 000 dairy herd compared to today’s herd of less than 40 000 cows.

The new farmers coming on board for the Nestle dairy scheme are Kunaka Estates of Matepatepa who are being assisted to acquire 40 heifers, Panhowe farm from Mazowe with 20 heifers, Pades wood Farm in Headlands also with 20 heifers and Nyadire Mission Primary School with four heifers and one dairy bull.

Katsande said Nestles will provide technical assistant to ensure that the new entrants will grow to be successful milk producers.

In addition to this initiative, Nestle will be rolling out its small scale dairy development programme to other provinces during the course of the year.

“The aim of this project is to enhance the livelihoods of small scale farmers by providing them with food security and sustainable way to earn their living,” said Katsande.

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