Nestlé's Zimbabwe Dairy Reopens

ZIMBABWE - Swiss food processing giant, Nestlé has reopend its Harare dairy plant in Zimbabwe.
calendar icon 7 January 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

The plant was closed after concerns for the safety of staff after two managers had been taken in by police for questioning.

According to a report on the BBC, the plant had been forced to accept milk from non-contracted suppliers including a farm, Gushungo Dairy Estate, that is owned by the wife of the Zimbabwe president, Robert Mugabwe.

The company had been taking milk from eight non-contracted farms last year as a form of assistance to the dairy industry in teh country during the time of economic crisis.

However, in October last year Nestlé ended the arrangement.

The company issued a statement at the time saying: "The Dairy Board of Zimbabwe today informed the Gushungo Dairy Estate, and the seven other farms with whom Nestlé began working on a temporary basis in February 2009, that it is now in a position to resume purchasing their milk. Nestlé Zimbabwe therefore will no longer be receiving milk from these 8 farms from Sunday 4 October.

"In February 2009 the food and economic crisis in Zimbabwe reached a level where the dairy industry was at real risk of collapse, and the Dairy Board was no longer able to buy milk from these eight farms. In light of our long-term commitment to Zimbabwe, we bought this milk on a temporary basis. This helped prevent a further deterioration in food supplies in Zimbabwe at that time.

"Nestlé has been in Zimbabwe for 50 years, working with the population of Zimbabwe and striving to maintain a long-term viable operation in often challenging conditions. We operate in Zimbabwe, as we do in every country, through good times and bad. We work for the long-term, in a way which has positive impact on our consumers, employees and suppliers.

"In light of the recent controversy surrounding our relationship with the Gushungo Dairy Estate, we believe that this announcement reflects our long-term commitment to Zimbabwe while acknowledging the specific circumstances around these events."

The company reopened its Harare plant after it had received assurances over the safety iof its staff.

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