Schweppes Holdings Africa Limited’s subsidiary, Sunrise Citrus Estates, intends to establish a 2 700ha citrus plantation in Beitbridge, Zimbabwe. The project is expected to create thousands of jobs across the value chain. It is also envisaged that the proposed project will add impetus to Zimbabwe’s exports growth. An environmental impact assessment (EIA) is already underway.

In a joint statement, Sunrise Citrus Estates and African Environmental and Sustainability Consulting, which is undertaking consultancy work for the EIA on the planned project said: “Sunrise Citrus Estates intends to establish a citrus plantation in Beitbridge, Zimbabwe. The 2 700ha citrus plantation will create employment for local communities. Moreover, the implementation of the project will enable the processing of juice for local and international markets, as well as the exporting of raw fruit.”

Sunrise Citrus Estates has contracted Toxiconsol Consultancy t/a African Environmental and Sustainability Consultants to conduct an EIA, which will include all aspects of public and stakeholder consultation.

“In order to foster inclusivity and full participation, stakeholders are invited to submit written comments and suggestions on the project. The output will be an EIA of acceptable quality to be submitted to the Environmental Management Agency,” reads part of the joint statement.

Acquisition to strengthen supply chain

Recently, Schweppes Zimbabwe announced a 100% acquisition of Beitbridge Juicing Company (BBJ) in a vertical integration move that saw the beverage producer strengthening its supply chain, by taking control of a key raw material in the form of orange juice concentrate.

At the time of the acquisition, BBJ supplied Schweppes Zimbabwe with 75% of the company’s orange juice requirements for Mazoe Orange Crush, while the remainder was imported from South Africa.

Through the acquisition, it was hoped that the move would improve capacity utilisation at BBJ to enable Schweppes Zimbabwe to obtain 100% of its juice, which is a key raw material for Mazoe Orange Crush, locally.

The acquisition of BBJ was a huge stride for Schweppes Zimbabwe Limited, which was fully indigenised in 2010 with 51% of the business owned by indigenous consortium Whaterton Investments and the remaining 49% held by Delta Beverages (Private) Limited.

The company is headquartered in Harare and the production plant is based in Beitbridge close to the raw material (oranges). At present, the business obtains its fruit from local farmers in Beitbridge. – Chronicle