Natfoods re-opens Mutare milling plant

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National Foods Limited will this week re-open its Mutare maize milling plant as it seeks to meet the growing demand of maize meal, a senior official said yesterday. The plant with capacity to mill 9 400 tonnes of maize and has been inactive since 2016, is expected to re-open tomorrow, NatFoods marketing executive Mr Lawrence Katinyu said.

NatFoods is currently operating two milling plants in Harare and Bulawayo, but the growing sales have seen NatFoods struggling to meet the demand.

The increased demand has also been partly driven by the introduction of new product such as Pearlenta high-fibre maize meal, which is blended with either maize or wheat bran.

Last year, Natfoods also introduced multi grain meal — a blend of maize, wheat sorghum.

“We have seen volumes growing to the point that the two mills (Harare and Bulawayo) cannot satisfy the market,” said Mr Katinyu.

National Foods is looking at employing 40 people per shift with the number of shifts to be determined by the demand.

“Initially, we are looking at milling 3 600 tonnes per month and employ 40 people per shift,” National Foods managing executive for maize division Mr Chipo Nheta said.

In total, National Foods has five milling plants. The Gweru and Masvingo plants remain closed. All the five plants have combined monthly milling capacity of 51 000 tonnes.

Natfoods is one of the country’s largest manufacturers and marketers of food products, with a footprint spanning pre-packing and sale of dry groceries to the manufacturing of stock feeds and food products.

The company, listed on the ZSE operates in segments that include milling, manufacturing, distribution and property.

The company also finances small-scale farmers through its contract farming programme.

During 2017 /18 season, the company directly supported production of nearly 9 000 hectares of maize, wheat, sugar beans.

Pure Oil, a unit of National Foods supported 2 100 hectares of soya bean during the last season.–herald.co.z

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