Schweppes launches outgrower scheme
ONE of Schweppes Zimbabwe’s strategic business units, Best Fruit Processors, has launched an outgrower scheme with individual farmers and companies across the country.
Best Fruit Processors Private Limited is the joint venture entity established in August 2015 by Beitbridge Juicing Company and the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) for processing fruit at a production plant in Norton.
Beitbridge Juicing Company is the managing partner in the joint venture with 70 percent ownership while ARDA retains 30 percent stake.
Schweppes Zimbabwe marketing and public affairs director Mrs Unaiswi Nyikadzino told Chronicle Business on the sidelines of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries annual congress in Bulawayo that the outgrower scheme provides farmers with a ready market.
“Our thrust is to process different types of fruits.
“Our main focus is tomato, which we process into paste and at the same time we also do peach puree, mango puree, passion fruit purees . . . and there are various kinds of fruits that we can also process.
“We are developing outgrower schemes with farmers at irrigation schemes, smallholder farmers and commercial farmers who will supply our plant with feedstock,” she said.
Mrs Nyikadzino said the key challenge they are presently facing on the project was ensuring the farmers secure the inputs.
“We’ve partnered with some organisations to try and facilitate input supplies to farmers as part of measures to reduce costs,” she said.
The Norton-based fruit processing plant has annual production capacity of 30,000 tonnes of raw fruit, which is processed into purees and pastes.
The business key focus is to fulfil domestic demand for tomato paste and fruit purees before exports.
The targeted contributions for 2016 are 70 percent exports and 30 percent domestic business in volume terms.