SPIRITS and wine maker, African Distillers Limited (Afdis), says it has engaged the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to consider it for the export incentive scheme to enable it to resume and capacitate its exports.
Afdis shelved exports to regional markets after the appreciation of the United States dollar against most regional currencies which crippled demand.
Afdis managing director Cecil Gombera told businessdigest last week that Afdis would resume exports before the end of its financial year which is June 2018.
“We are speaking to RBZ concerning import incentive scheme. We are looking at the import inventive scheme to capacitate our exports. RBZ has said to us do what you can then let’s talk about export incentive to allow us to compete. We need to ensure that capacity utilisation increases so we need to be exporting and to export we need to be competitive. At the moment we are still scouring at the markets,” he said
Gombera said Afdis had received assurance from the central bank that they would benefit from the scheme thereby boosting their exports which are currently low with most of their produce being consumed locally.
Afdis had been exporting into the region following increased production after it commissioned its US$5 million cider packaging line in 2014.
While volumes could not be quantified as the firm awaits more funding, Gombera said firming US dollar had pummelled regional currencies and made Afdis products expensive and uncompetitive compared to similar products coming out of other markets thus failing to penetrate other markets.
“We have managed to get our products into DRC, Malawi, a little bit and we have been to the Zambian market where we faced stiff competition due to our pricing in US dollars. When we start we will obviously start with our Ready to Drink (RTDs)” RTDs, ciders are an obvious choice and we are also looking at spirits, our Gold Brand, which are currently strong on the local market, we believe we can export them into the region,” he said.
The seemingly inexorable rise of the dollar against most other currencies has seen exports generally slowing for Zimbabwean companies that compete regionally and internationally and derive much of their income form exports.