New miller to break monopoly: President

Herald Reporter

THE entrance of more milling companies into the market will break the monopoly that some foreign firms have been abusing, and help curb wanton price increases of mealie meal, President Mnangagwa has said.

This comes as indigenous investors continue to show confidence in the Second Republic, embracing the call to value-add products for sustainable industrialisation towards Vision 2030.

Within that scope, President Mnangagwa yesterday commissioned a milling company in Tynward, Harare, owned by Champion Foods Private Limited.

The milling company is set to be a game-changer in the food industry as it has a capacity to mill 500 tonnes of maize and 200 tonnes of wheat per day.

The President said the coming in of Champions Foods Private Limited will end wanton price increases of mealie meal and other related basic commodities.

“Last year, these mainstream milling companies unjustifiably hiked the price of mealie meal. We sat down and I directed Champion Foods to do milling 24 hours a day and this helped in reducing the price of mealie meal on the market.

“In this regard, please join me in celebrating the bold decision and steps being taken by private sector players, including Champion Foods Private Limited, towards industrialising and modernising our economy for the attainment of Vision 2030,” said President Mnangagwa.

“I congratulate Champion Foods Private Limited for the entrepreneurial initiative, as well as great milestones realised at this site. Makorokoto, Amhlophe. The contributions you are set to make in the agricultural value addition space are welcome.

“To this end, the massive milling plant will help complement the current local milling capacity, increase our product volumes, create employment opportunities and export-led production. Allow me to also commend the determination, focus, professional workmanship, collaboration and teamwork exhibited by the teams who showed urgency, sufficient knowledge and proficiency in installing the milling plant. Today, we thus, give full testimony that what appeared impossible, now is possible.”

He said the project highlighted the commitment and motivation by the investor to take up opportunities that the country’s economy has to offer while providing a critical service to the nation.

“The importance of agriculture as the engine for Zimbabwe’s sustainable economic development cannot be over emphasised. As you are aware, over 70 percent of livelihoods are directly and indirectly linked to the agriculture sector.

“The sector presents great potential to leapfrog the economy, given its

capacity to influence the development of various services such as manufacturing, financing, insurance and logistics, among others. I challenge our communities, young people and entrepreneurs, to take advantage of the opportunities that these critical services have to offer,” he said.

Government will continue to foster a conducive operating environment to accelerate rural industrialisation, modernisation and growth of our economy, said the President, adding that agriculture transformation and food self-sufficiency remain a top priority.

“We are a nation capable to produce and feed ourselves. Hence, in the ongoing transformation journey, all the necessary support shall be rendered so that the sector’s contribution to the overall growth of the economy will continue to surpass yesteryear records.”

He said value-addition provides an important entry point for business development and support, increased income and improved food safety and security.

“The investment by Champion Foods, is one of the ways the private sector is playing its part in growing our economy. Through initiatives such as this one, my Government is ensuring the building of stronger and productive communities, which guarantees that we lift many of our people out of poverty into prosperity,” said President Mnangagwa.

To further propel the agriculture sector transformation, he said, the Government will continue to invest in research, science, technology and innovation at the primary, secondary, and higher education level.

“By equipping our youth with the requisite skills and knowledge, we are providing them with better tools for their future. I urge stakeholders in the agriculture and education sector to develop synergies and collaborations for bolstering our technical, vocational and entrepreneurial education ecosystem. This is more critical as an ever-expanding industrial base requires a versatile human resource base of technicians and artisans among other competencies,” he said.

“As we scale up our efforts towards value addition and the attainment of Vision 2030, public and private institutions, as well as farmers are called upon to continue working together towards ensuring coordinated and increased production, marketing and financing of the agriculture sector. On its part, my Administration remains committed to supporting initiatives and investments to improve our agriculture sector, mitigate against climate change, end hunger and poverty.”

He assured the nation that no one would starve during the El Nino-induced drought as Government has a comprehensive drought relief and food deficit mitigation programme.

Part of the Champions Foods (Pvt) Limited Milling Plant that was commissioned by President Mnangagwa in Harare yesterday

Vice President, Dr Constantino Chiwenga said the milling project was a result of Government’s economic blue print, the National Development Strategy 1 which seeks to revamp the manufacturing sector.

“It is common cause that this project stands as testimony to His Excellency the President’s commitment to infrastructural development. Government will continue to provide an enabling environment for business,” said VP Chiwenga.

Vice President Kembo Mohadi commended Champions Foods for the great work saying it dovetailed with the Government’s thrust.

Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka said the project epitomises the practical leadership of President Mnangagwa.

Champions Foods Private Limited chairperson Mr Douglas Kwande said they realised the benefits that accrue from value addition in the agriculture value chain.

“We are farmers who decided to value-add crops. The time of growing raw grain is over, the money you make from growing raw crops if you do not value add, is less than what you get when you value add,” he said.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president, Mr Denford Mutashu said the entry of the new player in the milling industry will help stabilise prices of mealie meal.

“The project will end shortages, even the escalation of prices that we have been experiencing will be a thing of the past. As retailers we are happy that we have a new product on the market and we will fully support the initiative,” he said.

The event was attended by Government ministers, legislators, Zanu PF Politburo members, supporters from the ruling party and captains of industry among others dignitaries.

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