By Ndafadza Madanha
UNILEVER has commissioned a US$500 thousand Laudernberg machine for its savoury product Royco Usavi mix.
The state of the art machine is expected to increase output from 13 thousand tonnes of Royco sachets to 17 thousand tonnes a day.
Speaking at the launch of the plant minister of industry, commerce and enterprise development Mike Bimha said the government will strive to create a conducive environment for industry to prosper.
“The investment will result in employment creation. As the government, we are doing our part to make your investments safer and profitable, to make you fall in love with Zimbabwe again. Government’s role is to create a conducive environment for the private sector to prosper. Government’s role is not to produce,” said Bimha.
Unilever Africa President Bruno Witvoet said in recent years the company has invested over US$8m in its operations resulting in the creation of 350 jobs.
He said the additional capacity will have a multiplier effect in the local economy replacing imported products and increasing the opportunity to purchase local materials such as packaging and spices.
“This is about far more than adding a state of the art foods factory to our operations, it is about providing affordable and tasty food to millions of Zimbabweans and building a bright future for Zimbabwe.
Unilever stayed serving our consumers and supporting jobs across the country in marketing, distributing and trading throughout recent economic hardship. We have a long-term business and already invested US$8m over recent years so we are ready to begin rebuilding the economy and improving the lives of the Zimbabwean people”.
Witvoet said the company was looking at turning Zimbabwe into an export hub to provide products to neighbouring countries.
Meanwhile, Unilever is planning to invest US$1 million in a dishwasher manufacturing plant but is keen to get guarantees from the central bank for the provision of foreign currency to import materials.