Cairns Foods eyes regional markets

Nancy-Guzha
Mapakame
HARARE – Cairns Foods says it is eyeing the regional export market by year 2019 and 2020 as it seeks to boost its revenue streams and foreign currency earnings.

Chief executive Nancy Guzha told exporters at a ZimTrade annual exporters’ conference in Harare that the company’s turnaround strategy included exporting into neighboring countries like Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi and also benefit from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s 5 percent export incentive.

However, Guzha said the company was working towards enhancing production and competitiveness to satisfy the domestic market before venturing into exports.

“We are looking at exporting our products by 2019 to 2010. Our strategy however is that we should first satisfy the local market before we can venture into regional market,” she said.

She however bemoaned the high cost of production in Zimbabwe which still erodes the price competitiveness of locally manufactured goods on the regional market.In addition to that, the cost of borrowing, she said, was still high therefore increasing the cost of production.

However, RBZ has reduced interest rates from around 35 percent at dollarization to the current 12 percent per annum as part of initiatives to help productive sectors of the economy access funding at much cheaper rates.

“Although the Ministry (Industry and Commerce) is helping us, as manufacturers we still have a big burden due to competitiveness especially on pricing,” she said.

Last year, Cairns commissioned a new plant at its Mutare branch for baked beans as part of efforts to revive the company that had been facing viability challenges of late.From 2012 to 2015, Cairns operated under judicial management.

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