Business Threat: Zim Potato Crisps Threat with Potatoes Shortage

Harare – Zimbabweans consume an estimated 250 tonnes of Potato crisps per month, however their supply is in danger after the country has reportedly run out of potatoes for making the product scarce.

Under Statutory Instrument (SI) 64 of June 2016, importation of foreign made potato crisps has been banned, leading local manufacturers to suffer.

A local producer, Hanawa Super Foods has since approached government seeking an urgent import permit to buy potatoes from South Africa, as heavy rainfall reduced local supply.
Crisps Might be in Short Supply in Zimbabwe

Simbarashe Zhou, the managing director told NewsDay that they needed to import potatoes urgently or their $3 million investment would suffer.

“At 80 percent, which is a realistic achievement, we are looking at producing about 500kgs an hour, which is 9 600 and 10 000kgs of finished product per day because we are supposed to be doing two shifts of 10 hours each. But, due to shortages of raw materials, we are only just running a day shift,” he said.

The country received above normal rainfall, sometimes causing floods after concurrent years of drought.

“Due to the above normal rainfall that we had, our potato farming shifted people to start planting potatoes beginning of March, so what was in the country was completely exhausted. There are no potatoes currently in the country,” added Zhou.

The company according to Zhou needs assistance from the Reserve Back of Zimbabwe (RBZ) nostro fund reserve to get foreign currency.

Zhou said they needed assistance in the facilitation of nostro fund allocation from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to enable them to get foreign currency to import potatoes.

In total, Hanawa Super Foods requires 1 200 tonnes of potatoes from May to September 2017.

In addition, a working capital facility of $790 000 to fund the raw material requirements for 45 days of continuous production, which translated to an output of 2 500 tonnes of finished product per annum

Industry and Commerce minister, Mike Bimha promised the entity their request will be considered.

“The last meeting I had, which was the meeting between the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and a number of representations from the private sector. There are measures that he (central bank governor, John Mangudya) was going to take,” Bimha said.

He added: “Unfortunately, we have been so busy, so I have not gone back to him to find out exactly how far he had gone.”

Since the introduction of SI64 of 2016, manufactures of Lays and Simba chips, Cold Chain group, witnessed subdued returns.

Cairns Foods’ is now dominant through their flagship potato crisps product, Chompkins. - Online Sources 

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