Proton Bakers to set up manufacturing plant in Bulawayo

Part of Proton Bakers manufacturing plant in Marondera

PROTON Bakers has unveiled plans to set up a new manufacturing factory in Bulawayo as it expands the business with a focus on consolidating market footprint in the southern region. 

The Marondera-headquartered firm is pushing close to 40 000 loaves per day in Bulawayo. To further expand its reach, chief operations officer Mr Simba Bodzo told Business Chronicle on the sidelines of a media tour of their plant yesterday that the company was determined to set up a plant in Bulawayo.

Proton has been in business since 1961.

“We are cognisant of the fact that Matabeleland region really needs a manufacturing plant in Bulawayo. It’s something that we have been looking at with the Government. Right now we have no timelines but the plans are there,” said Mr Bodzo.

At a time when many businesses have raised concern over inadequate power supplies due to high demand sparked by growing domestic investments, Proton is focused on tapping into solar energy to ease costs and ensure long term sustainability. 

Most heavy duty companies are now investing in renewable energy to augment existing energy supplies.

Mr Simba Bodzo

“Our major challenge is power. We use two generators to power the plant and plans are underway to tap into solar for daytime use but it requires a lot of capital injection,” said Mr Bodzo.

He said besides power, the company is also facing water shortages.

The giant bread maker says it will be introducing a new range of products this year with equipment for these already on site.

However, the firm is not in a rush to expand its footprint countrywide but focuses on maintaining market share and quality products, said Mr Bodzo.

“We don’t seek to be the largest bakery in the industry but the best. Being the third largest bakery in Zimbabwe in terms of production levels, we make sure the products are of high quality,” he said.

Proton commands about 90 percent of the market of cookies products countrywide and though not found in certain areas, the business is making a huge market impression.

The company produces a wide variety of baked products from bread to biscuits and is supporting local suppliers of raw materials through targeted procurement processes. The bakery spread its wings to Bulawayo in March 2017 and because of its vibrant distribution network, it covers most parts of the city.

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