Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa today met top executives from global food and beverage company, Nestlé, who committed to continue operations in the country, and boost production by creating local synergies.
Nestlé Zimbabwe is shortly due to celebrate 60 years in Zimbabwe and the executives, who include some from the group’s Switzerland headquarters, are in the country to tour operations ahead of the milestone celebrations.
The company has in the past eight years invested over US$30 million in its operations, and recently announced plans to train and employ up to 10 000 women, in four years, who will be involved in the marketing of its products.
Late last year, the company also announced a US$1.2 million coffee production project where smallholder farmers are producing coffee for its Nespresso brand.
Nestlé South Africa chairman and managing director, Bruno Olierhoek told reporters after a closed door meeting that President Mnangagwa had been keenly following the company’s progress.
“The President has been very interested in progress that Nestle has been making particularly in the area of affordable nutrition and this is precisely what we have been working on, having best quality products that are nutritious and affordable for the people, with raw materials that are source as much as possible from the country,” Olierhoek said.
“Nestle has been in Zimbabwe through thick and thin and our commitment to the President was to try our best to stay in the country and to thrive despite the situation on the ground.”
He said the firm had changed its business model, adopting one that necessitated partnerships with local farmers for its coffee and dairy business as well as cutting dependence on imports.
“We have strong brands… and we have invested in additional capacity that will come on stream next year,” he said.
He said the product marketing programme targeting women will initially be piloted in Harare before it is cascaded to the rest of the country.
The company currently employs over 200 people.
Besides Olierhoek, the Nestlé delegation that met President Mnangagwa included Chris Johnson, the executive vice president and chief executive officer for Asia, Oceania and Sub-Saharan Africa, Ben Ndiaye the managing director for the company’s East and Southern Africa Region as well as local executives.-New Ziana