Tinashe Makichi Business Reporter
ProGroup Zimbabwe’s packaging and manufacturing unit, Probrands will set up a Ultra-high temperature processing (UHT) dairy plant in Ruwa at a total cost of $2,5 million.
Already the company is producing cultured milk brands and the new UHT factory will add another dimension to the company’s vision towards dairy processing.
ProGroup chief executive Nigel Philp said the company had started empowering commercial and small-scale dairy farmers to ensure consistent supply of the milk once the UHT plant is in place.
“We are working towards setting up a UHT plant and our aim is to grow and become a force to reckon with in the local manufacturing sector. The plant should be ready for commissioning in July.”
Mr Philp said since inception Probrands has been focusing on the packaging of milk products. Its first dairy manufacturing plant was set up in 2014.
“Probrands has been packaging milk products since inception. We managed to put up our first dairy plant in 2014, where we have been making brands like Maas and Sawa Sawa.
“We are working with small-scale dairy farmers as well as commercial dairy farmers by providing feed from our stock feed manufacturing unit, Profeeds,” said Mr Philp.
Milk processors in Zimbabwe have been making huge investments into new processing equipment (Dairiboard Steri plant in Chipinge, Dendairy UHT factory in Kwekwe, Alpha Omega UHT and ice-cream equipment in Mazowe, Nestle has also commissioned new equipment) which upped the sector’s capacity utilisation eventually pushing down imports.
Zimbabwe is one of the countries with a modernised dairy industry in the Southern African Development Community although it is still importing some dairy products from countries such as South Africa to supplement domestic supply.
Mr Philp also said Probrands last year commissioned a carbonated soft drink manufacturing plant in Ruwa to reduce the importation of those drinks from South Africa.
Probrands is producing a soft drink brand called “Fizzy” at the Ruwa factory and the brand according to Mr Philp had been well received by the market.
The manufacturing plant has capacity to produce about 20 hectolitres of carbonated soft drinks per week.