SCHWEPPES Zimbabwe Limited, which recently stopped producing Mazoe Orange Crush says production of the beverage would resume by weekend following acquisition of key raw materials.
Continued production would, however, be subject to full availability of raw materials, whose supply has been inconsistent due to foreign currency challenges, said the firm.
Last week, the giant beverages manufacturer confirmed that it had not been producing Mazoe for the past three weeks after the Coca-Cola Company cut off supplying concentrates, a critical ingredient in making the product over a US$10 million debt. The US$10 million arrear is a legacy debt spanning over three years.
Responding to written questions from Business Chronicle, Schweppes Zimbabwe Limited commercial and public affairs director, Mrs Unaiswi Nyikadzino, said product availability was a function of various workstreams. She said the firm’s management was continuing to engage relevant authorities to address the operational matters.
“Mazoe Orange Crush production is dependent on full availability of raw materials, which has been inconsistent of late due to outstanding payments to various suppliers. Product availability is a function of various workstreams, which is not limited to concentrate availability but includes other raw materials, utilities (power and water) among others,” said Mrs Nyikadzino.
“Management continues to engage relevant stakeholders to ensure that all these operational matters are managed in an efficient and effective manner.”
She said production of Mazoe is likely to resume at the weekend as some concentrates were on their way into the country. Asked on the circumstances surrounding the challenges facing Schweppes Zimbabwe Limited that has led to the US$10 million Coca Cola debt, she said: “There is a standing commitment from the Central Bank to honour blocked funds for which the business has complied with relevant requirements”.
Mr Nyikadzino said their first priority for the product supplies was the domestic market and the foreign currency generated from export business enables the company to source imported raw materials.
Mazoe Orange Crush is one of Zimbabwe’s top exports found in a number of countries on the continent and Europe.