GLOBAL food and beverage manufacturer Nestle has remained steadfast despite economic headwinds that have threatened the viability of business in Zimbabwe with local management indicating plans for further investment in the country.
Despite a myriad of challenges that have forced companies out of business or seen other players down-sizing and thousands of employees losing their jobs, Nestle has navigated the harsh terrain with eyes set on the long term, said Nestlé south cluster manager (Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi) Ben Ndiaye.
Nestle Zimbabwe, said Ndiaye, is currently targeting to increase exports from the current 5% to 20% of turnover by end of year.
The major export products, Ndiaye said, would be cereal products — Cerevita and Cerelac.
“Like all other businesses in the country, liquidity challenges being faced by the country have also affected our business. However, we always take a long-term approach to doing business and we focus on providing the best nutrition solutions for our consumers in good and bad times,” said Ndiaye.
Ndiaye said investment targets in the short term will be centred on innovation with additional new products development, adding to its more than 2000 brands, in collaboration with Nestle’s regional office in Nairobi and Nestlé research and development centres scattered in more than 191 countries throughout the globe.
“To complement the investment in plant and equipment and new product development, Nestlé also invests in its people. A leadership academy has been created in order to build capacity amongst local talents with a view to developing current Zimbabwean employees for leadership positions locally, regionally and globally,” added Ndiaye.
“At Nestlé, we think long-term and we constantly aim to provide the right nutritious, affordable products to meet the needs of our Zimbabwean customer (and) with these new products launches we have also increased our impact to SME especially by empowering new local distributors and we have plans to create indirectly more jobs with a strong distribution network,” Ndiyaye said.
Nestle Zimbabwe recently spent at least US$200 000 on its affordable product lines.
Ndiaye said the money was spent on constructing the production area and assembling of the filling and packing machinery.