HARARE – Beverages manufacturer, Schweppes Zimbabwe Limited said on Saturday it is battling a foreign currency supply gap of around $1.5 million monthly required to import its input needs, which had led to supply gaps of its products.
The manufacturer, renowned for its products such as the Mazoe range of and Minute Maid juices, warned of supply gaps until the foreign currency situation stabilised.
It also announced an increase in the price of Mazoe products from $3.20 to $4 per two litre unit.
Schweppes’ Mazoe brand is considered a flag bearer for Zimbabwe and the company earlier this year felt market anger after it changed the cordials recipe without consulting the market, forcing the firm to apologise and revert to the “original” product.
The company said it was only exporting five percent of its monthly production, earning around $750 000 against a monthly requirement of $2.5 million for its import needs.
“Directly and indirectly imported raw materials (packaging and concentrates) constitute an average of 40 percent of final product cost for our range of beverages,” Schweppes said in a market update.
Forex allocations received from its bankers this year, the beverages manufacturer said, were inadequate to meet its needs.
“Owing to the foreign exchange constraints, we anticipate continued gaps in production, supply and availability of our products in the market and we ask consumers to bear with us as we work with our banking partners and local and external raw materials suppliers to normalise supplies,” Schweppes said.
Zimbabwe has in the past few years been facing forex shortages as imports continue to outrun exports.
Schweppes said the increase in product price had been necessitated by a hike in the price of sugar, a key input in the production process.
Panic buying of products that happened last month had compounded the situation as it had severely depleted its raw materials and finished goods inventories. – New Ziana