HomeBusiness DigestFarm invasions blamed for milk shortage

Farm invasions blamed for milk shortage

Chris Goko/Eric Chiriga

NUTRITIONAL foods company Nestlé Zimbabwe says it is processing three million litres of milk, five times lower than its optimum capacity due to a slump in dairy farm products.

Nestlé, makers of condensed and powdered milk, coffee, and culinary products such as sauces and seasonings, as well as selected chocolate brands, consumes 15 million litres at its five processing plants in Zimbabwe when producing at full capacity.

Yves Manghardt, chairman and managing director of Nestlé’s South Africa, made the revelation when he presented the Swiss multinational company’s finances for the year 2004.

Manghardt, who is also in charge of the company’s operations in 19 southern and eastern African countries, said his firm was capable of generating “healthy profits” and fostering economic growth.

He emphasised though that this could only be achieved with the implementation of “sound business principles” and collaboration between Nestlé and host countries.

“Nestlé…today emphasised the need for business to make a long-term commitment to the continent,” Manghardt said on Wednesday last week.

“The company can generate healthy profits and create benefits to the people of Africa,” added the Nestlé boss, who listed Zimbabwe among two other African countries blighted by business and political turmoil.

Nestlé, whose primary focus is shelf-stable dairy products, including skimmed milk and cooking ingredients, suffered milk supply disruptions owing to farm invasions ordered by President Robert Mugabe’s government.

Although it has been working to assist small-scale dairy farmers, the outturn has been disappointing and inadequate due to their limited capacity.

Its competing firm Dairibord and other operators have also suffered raw material supply disruptions, thereby compromising quality and undermining product supply.

Africa, he said, contributed more than 2,3 billion Swiss Francs in sales last year alone.

With 27 manufacturing facilities in Africa, Nestle’s operations are anchored in mainly South Africa, Kenya, Cote’d Ivoire, Mauritius, Nigeria and Uganda.

Manghardt said the company would continue to make products of a high safety standard, but “tailored to suit local tastes”.

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