AVCZ sets up across cotton value chain David Whitehead employees go about their duties at the recently opened Kadoma spinning factory

Business Reporter

Agri Value Chain Zimbabwe (AVCZ), has established a presence across a large segment of the cotton value chain, spanning from financing cotton through to textiles, which is expected to optimise returns from one of the country’s key exports.

The expansion follows the revival of David Whitehead Textiles Limited factories in Chegutu and Kadoma, a significant development in Zimbabwe’s textile industry.

AVCZ’s involvement in the cotton value chain now also includes providing support to cotton farmers in the form of essential inputs like seeds, fertilisers and chemicals.

 The company is also actively involved in the first stage of cotton processing called ginning.

 It owns four ginneries in Sanyati, Chegutu, Rushinga, and Checheche. The ginning process involves the separation of the cotton fibers known as lint from the cotton seeds.

The revival of David Whitehead signifies AVCZ’s extended reach into textile production, the near-final stage of the value chain. 

The expansion indicates AVCZ’s growing role in the cotton sector, potentially demonstrating increased vertical integration.

 “The revival of David Whitehead Textiles Limited marks a significant milestone for investors in Agri Value Chain Zimbabwe, as AVCZ’s involvement now spans nearly the entire cotton value chain,” said Mr Rod Musiwa in an interview with this publication.

 “This achievement is a testament to the unparalleled commitment from investors, the Government, critical stakeholders, and the entire DWT team who tirelessly worked towards the company’s comeback.

“With AVCZ now participating in the cotton value chain, the benefits would be immense to the economy and aligns with the Government’s focus on import substitution,” Mr Musiwa added.

After nearly two decades of dormancy, with only occasional periods of operations, David Whitehead is poised for a full-scale production revival Agric Value Chain invested in cutting-edge technology to establish state-of-the-art plants. Its Kadoma facility has already reached near full capacity, producing yarn and knitted fabric the key raw materials for the Chegutu plant which is also nearing completion.

Some Chegutu sections are undergoing trial runs and the commissioning of others is being finalised.

 “David Whitehead is gearing up for full-scale production, which will eventually benefit not only the communities they directly serve but the entire Zimbabwean economy, and potentially even extend beyond the country’s borders,” said Mr Musiwa.

 Zimbabwe, renowned for its high-quality cotton lint, used to export nearly 90 percent of its raw material and the missed out on the potential value addition that could have been achieved through domestic processing. 

The decline in local processing stemmed from various factors including closure of local facilities and the influx of imports.

 Many textile and spinning facilities shut down, while others struggled due to outdated equipment. Their products could not compete with the lower prices of imported fabrics and second-hand clothes. In addition, the growing popularity of synthetic fabrics further squeezed the market for locally produced cotton textiles.

 However, a glimmer of hope emerges with the revival of David Whitehead’s plant in Kadoma. The new factory offers a potential advantage –  the ability to process both natural cotton and synthetic fibers, creating a more competitive product range.

 AVCZ is not just about cotton. It is also involved in the production of fast consumer-moving goods including the popular ZimGold cooking oil, bathing tablets, washing soap and margarine.

After ginning, AVCZ crushes the cotton seeds at its two plants in Chegutu and Harare to cooking oil.  In Chegutu, it takes this process a step further by utilising the by-products from the oil-seed crushing to make soya chunks, a valuable source of protein.

 “Looking ahead, we remain committed to investing in Zimbabwe,” said Musiwa.  “Our thrust at Agri Value Chain Zimbabwe exemplifies our dedication to fostering economic growth while adhering to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles. 

 “We believe this approach creates a sustainable future for both investors and the communities we partner with in Zimbabwe,” he added.

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