Firms in Zim­babwe in­no­vate to sur­vive

The Star Late Edition - - BUSINESS NEWS - Tawanda Karombo

COM­PA­NIES in Zim­babwe are now in­vest­ing in new lines that can pro­duce smaller pack­ages for man­u­fac­tured prod­ucts as cash con­tin­ues to dry up, with ex­ec­u­tives from food­stuffs man­u­fac­turer Nestlé say­ing con­di­tions in the econ­omy have ne­ces­si­tated this.

Zim­babwe con­tin­ues to be af­fected by low pro­duc­tiv­ity, with man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­ity still be­low 50 per­cent ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey by the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Zim­babwe In­dus­tries. Al­though the coun­try has in­sti­tuted re­stric­tions on im­ports from coun­tries such as South Africa, Zam­bia and Mozam­bique, some for­eign goods are still find­ing their way on mar­kets in the coun­try.

Most of the fin­ished goods still be­ing im­ported into Zim­babwe in­clude bev­er­ages, sugar, rice, chicken and cook­ing oil among oth­ers. This has been bleed­ing lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers, ac­cord­ing to Kip­son Gun­dani, an econ­o­mist at the Buy Zim­babwe pres­sure and lobby group.

“Man­u­fac­tur­ers are still bat­tling im­ports de­spite the re­stric­tions that were in­tro­duced last year through Statu­tory In­stru­ment 64 of 2016,” he said.


In a bid to fight the im­ports and to avail bet­ter priced prod­ucts on to the mar­ket. Nestlé Zim­babwe and other man­u­fac­tur­ers are now sell­ing smaller pack­aged prod­ucts that are “cheaper and af­ford­able” in the Zim­bab­wean mar­ket.

Kumbi­rai Kat­sande, the chair­per­son of Nestlé Zim­babwe, said the Swiss com­pany had in­vested in a new “filling and pack­ing line for af­ford­able prod­ucts” as the Zim­bab­wean econ­omy “de­mands that you ei­ther stop and die or you in­no­vate”.

He said the smaller pack­ages would help the com­pany to reach more con­sumers while Ben Ndi­aye, the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for Nestlé South­ern Africa clus­ter, said his com­pany would also try to ex­port the smaller packed prod­ucts into the re­gion to off­set for­eign cur­rency and cash con­straints the com­pany is facing in Zim­babwe.

“We are lev­er­ag­ing on lo­cal farm­ers who pro­vide us with the milk to pro­duce our prod­ucts. The min­i­mum price we had for our prod­ucts was $1.50 (R19.95), but we were un­able to reach all Zim­bab­weans.”

Econ­o­mists say Zim­bab­wean com­pa­nies are now com­ing up with sur­vival strate­gies as the head­winds con­tinue to buf­fet the econ­omy and in­comes con­tinue to de­cline.

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