New US$30m Innscor plant charms President President Mnangagwa and Vice President Kembo Mohadi (second from right) taste bread from Bakers Inn while listening to Innscor Africa Limited Group chairman Mr Addington Chinake (left) during the commissioning of the company’s Bulawayo plant yesterday. Also present is the chief executive, Mr Ngoni Mazango. — Picture: Eliah Saushoma.

Nqobile Bhebhe-Bulawayo Bureau

President Mnangagwa yesterday praised Innscor Africa Limited’s substantial investment in Bulawayo, emphasising the group’s pivotal role in advancing the Second Republic’s economic development in line with Vision 2030.

Innscor, a prominent Victoria Falls Stock Exchange-listed entity, invested US$30 million into its Bakers Inn unit. 

The investment resulted in a state-of-the-art, automated bread-making facility in Bulawayo, generating substantial economic benefits.

The factory boasts a daily production capacity of approximately 160 000 loaves of bread, marking a significant milestone for the industry. 

Experts consider it a game-changer due to its cutting-edge machinery, showcasing genuine technological advancements.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony in the Belmont Industrial Area, President Mnangagwa commended Innscor’s expansion project. 

He noted its alignment with the country’s Local Content Policy and “Made in Zimbabwe, Buy Zimbabwe” strategies, which have seen a positive rise in local product shelf occupancy to over 80 percent.

“I want from the onset to commend Innscor Africa Limited under their Baker’s Inn flagship for choosing to make this important investment in Bulawayo. Your bold decision is in line with our Devolution and Decentralisation Policy which seeks to realise equitable development, infrastructure development, modernisation, and industrialisation across all our cities, towns, and districts.

“As I was touring the factory, I told myself that these are the fruits of the Second Republic,” said the President.

The commissioning ceremony boasted a distinguished guest list, including Vice President Kembo Mohadi, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Judith Ncube, Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu, Innscor Africa Limited executives, and prominent figures from the industrial sector.

President Mnangagwa stressed the importance of bolstering technological capabilities and embracing modern practices to enhance business competitiveness and facilitate growth. In line with this vision, he expressed his gratification at the significant investments flowing into the baking sub-sector through recapitalisation and retooling initiatives, signifying a crucial shift away from outdated technologies.

“As a result of this new plant, I expect Bakers Inn to lower their production costs, enhance product viability, and deliver quality goods at reasonable prices,” he said.

President Mnangagwa pointed out that the investment, boosting production to nearly 200 000 loaves daily, should translate into significant job creation opportunities within the company, particularly for women and young people.

“The innovation of the Bakers Inn container project is applauded as it will not only grow the company’s sales footprint but also provide beneficiaries with entrepreneurship training under the mini-wholesale bread business project.”

President Mnangagwa acknowledged the growth within the baking sub-sector. To ensure a steady supply of raw materials for these players, he highlighted the Second Republic’s ongoing efforts to enhance irrigation capacity nationwide.

Highlighting the importance of maintaining Zimbabwe’s recent achievement of wheat self-sufficiency, the President urged continued momentum. To complement Government efforts, he called upon the milling and baking industry to increase the number of contracted farmers. This initiative will not only boost domestic wheat production but also benefit the production of other crops.

“Furthermore, I exhort investors to invest in the production of other raw materials required for baking which are currently being imported such as fats and enzymes among others. Collaborations and synergies with our higher learning institutions for the development of enzymes and other products that improve the quality of our bread and confectionaries must be pursued,” he said.

Echoing President Mnangagwa’s sentiment, Minister Ndlovu lauded the investment as a testament to Bakers Inn’s commitment to the President’s call for accelerated industrialisation.

Minister Ndlovu highlighted Bulawayo’s attractiveness to investors, citing US$135 million worth of investment in recent years, generating 33 000 direct jobs.

Innscor Africa Limited Group chairman, Mr Addington Chinake, celebrated the investment as a significant positive development for the Matabeleland region and a contribution to the Second Republic’s devolution objectives. He announced plans to immediately install a second production line, further boosting capacity for the region.

Mr Chinake reiterated the company’s support for the Second Republic’s re-industrialisation drive.

“The plant which is automated to current global standards making use of modern technology and robotics will result in the improvement of bread quality, consistency, and production efficiencies thus reducing waste as well as utilising less fuel in the production process,” he said.

Minister Ncube hailed the commissioning ceremony as a celebration of Bulawayo’s industrial resurgence. She said this investment positions the city as a prime destination for future investments.

“The investment by Innscor should create confidence to other investors that Bulawayo is ripe for investment,” she said.

The Bakers Inn investment aligns perfectly with the Second Republic’s efforts to revitalise Bulawayo’s industrial sector, solidifying President Mnangagwa’s message that “Zimbabwe is open for business”.

Bulawayo’s transformation is crucial for Zimbabwe’s overall development as outlined in National Development Strategy 1 (2021-2025). The strategy builds momentum towards achieving an upper-middle-income economy by 2030. The Bulawayo Metropolitan Provincial Economic Development Plan (PEDP) mirrors the national strategy. It focuses on leveraging the city’s key advantages to attract significant investments, particularly in manufacturing sectors. This focus aims to restore job opportunities and re-energise value chains.

Once a thriving industrial hub known for textiles, leather, meat processing, pharmaceuticals, and cement, Bulawayo is now determined to reclaim its former glory. Improved ease of doing business reforms, ushered in by the Second Republic, are paving the way for this resurgence.

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