MILK processor, Dairibord Holdings, says it will commission a new US$1,5 million manufacturing plant in the second half of the current financial year.
Zimbabwe’s largest dairy processor, which is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), said the manufacturing plant would produce ice creams and yoghurt.
Dairibord has not had a functional food manufacturing plant since it took the decision to decommission an old plant, to replace it with a new and more efficient one, as part of its renewed expansion drive.
The latest initiative comes hot on the heels of an aborted acquisition of fellow industry competitor, Dendairy, through which the company was looking to grow its brand portfolio for both domestic and export markets.
In an interview Dairibord chief executive officer Anthony Mandiwanza highlighted that the new plant would bolster the company’s ability to meet product demand and grow its market share in the country and beyond.
“On the food side, it has been really a supply concern because we decommissioned the main food plant in Harare so that we could put a new state of the art plant at a cost of about US$1, 5 million.
“Foods, which are mainly ice creams and yoghurts, have not been in the market significantly because we decommissioned the plant deliberately so that we launch the new plant in the second half, and we are on the verge of doing that in the second half.
“We are sorting out our processing site so that our capacity and product availability is enhanced,” said Mr Mandiwanza.
This comes on the backdrop of a strong financial performance in the first half of 2021, during which volumes uptake outstripped comparative for the last five years.
The results showed the highest volume uptake in five years despite the restrictions and lockdown.
The noticeable jump in Dairiboard’s volumes was mainly attributed to the beverages category where the Pfuko brand both the traditional and the flavoured particularly buttermilk, posted very strong numbers.
Cascade was the other big mover in the beverages category particularly the one litre packaged which was introduced last year and subsequently had a significant impact in terms of volumes.
Mr Mandiwanza alluded that, “The demand of that product (Cascade) to this day exceeds supply”.
He however professed some of the negative encounters his company experienced due to the advent of the Covid 19 pandemic on the supply side notably at the beginning of last year.
The dairy products manufacturer suffered supply challenges in packaging and raw material which the company imports due to constrained movements between national borders.
2021 however began on a strong front for the firm as the company managed to secure inputs in advance compared to last year where the company had to deploy substantial working capital for the raw material procurement process.