Lesaffre Zimbabwe is looking at expanding its reach in the Zambian market and used the recently held Zambia Agriculture and Commercial Show to endear its products with potential customers.
Lesaffre is a global key player in yeasts and fermentation and was in Zimbabwe through the acquisition of a majority stake in Anchor Yeast.
Over the years Lesaffre has made a series of major structural investments in its Zimbabwean subsidiary.
The investments include the inaugural Baking Centre as well as the modernisation and extension projects at its Gweru plant.
The company is, however, working on expanding its reach into Zambia where it already has a distribution centre responsible for exporting baking ingredients.
“In order to expand the market, we have come to exhibit at the Zambia Agriculture and Commercial Show (ZACS) in Lusaka so that we look at the customer base and hopefully expand it,” Lesaffre Zim sales manager Rurami Zulu told Business Weekly on the sidelines of ZACS last week.
“Our main intention is to expand our market, and reach out to as many people as possible both industrial and domestic users of our products,” Zulu said.
He said Lesaffre had started exporting into the Zambian market in 2016 and business has been on a growth trajectory.
“The business is growing steadily. Our coverage at the moment is not only in Lusaka. We have coverage and distributorship in Chipata and in the Copper Belt areas of Ndola and Kitwe.”
He said Lesaffre has no plans of setting up a manufacturing plant in Zambia but will only expand distributorship in other parts of Zambia.
He said the only challenge to that business model would be the flow of goods at Chirundu Border Post.
“One of our products is perishable and we encounter challenges where we are stuck for days with a perishable good and we would prefer that the effect of the One Stop Border becomes as efficient as we would like it to be,” said Zulu.
Commenting on the operating environment in Zimbabwe, Zulu said the new shareholders had brought new technology and skills which had reflected through product uptake.
He, however, bemoaned the current shortages of wheat and flour that has hit hard on the baking industry and impacting on product uptake.
“Naturally that has also impacted on our volumes. Once the bakeries haven’t got the flour, it means volumes will fall and then it will impact on our volumes as well,” said Zulu.
Located in Gweru in the Heavy Industrial Sites with three distribution centres in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare, Lesaffre Zimbabwe produces fresh yeast for craft and industrial bakeries.
Benefiting from the latest production technologies and a perfect monitoring of the logistics chain, the products of Lesaffre Zimbabwe are distributed throughout the national territory. The markets are varied and the company also produces bread premixes.
Lesaffre Zimbabwe covers 13 872m2 and employs 125 people.