Imbibers and soft drink lovers are headed for hard times as the products are fast running out on supermarket shelves amid revelations that the country’s biggest producer, Delta Beverages was left with raw materials to last only one week.
Beer and soft drinks like Coca-Cola have been in short supply throughout country for the past few weeks with retailers and bar owners resorting to the black market to fill the shelves.
Responding to questions sent through an email yesterday, Delta Corporation Ltd, corporate affairs executive Mrs Patricia Murambinda said the beverages manufacturer was facing critical shortage of raw materials especially for Coca-Cola and those for Chibuku.
She said the raw materials were imported and the company has accrued debts with suppliers some of whom have since stopped supplies to force payments.
“We advise that the supply of Coca-Cola concentrates and other imported materials remain critical for the business. We were able to pick up a small order of concentrates from the available credit last week with the supplier which we are currently running,” she said.
Mrs Murambinda said the available raw materials for Coca-Cola products can only last for one week with the pipeline for packaging the product continuing to run dry.
“This (available raw materials) is expected to cover production for a week and is not sufficient to cover the end pipeline that has become very dry,” she said.
Mrs Murambinda said the same challenge was affecting the production of opaque beer such as Chibuku.
“This is a similar situation with Chibuku where our supplier of Chibuku Super bottles has to import resin, a key component of the bottle,’ she said.
She said her organisation has a backlog in paying its suppliers, a development which has resulted in some of them suspending supplies of raw materials.
“This is impacting on our production operations. We continue to make presentations to RBZ and our banks for priority forex payments,” she said.