Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
SCHWEPPES Holdings Africa Limited’s subsidiary, Sunrise Citrus Estates, intends to establish a 2 700 hectare citrus plantation in Beitbridge with the project 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 Sustainability Consultants, which is undertaking consultancy work for the Environmental Impact Assessment on the planned project said:
“Sunrise Citrus Estates proposes to establish a citrus plantation in Beitbridge, Zimbabwe. The 2 700ha citrus plantation will create employment for local communities. The implementation of the project will enable the processing of juice for local and international markets as well as export of raw fruit.”
Sunrise Citrus Estates has contracted Toxiconsol Consultancy t/a African Sustainability Consultants to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment including 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.
Recently, Schweppes Zimbabwe announced 100 percent acquisition of Beitbridge Juicing Company 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 percent of the company’s orange juice requirements for Mazoe Orange Crush while the remainder is imported from South Africa.
Through the acquisition, it was hoped that the move would improve capacity utilisation at BBJ to enable Schweppes Zimbabwe obtain 100 percent 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 in itself was fully indigenised in 2010 with 51 percent of the business owned by indigenous consortium — Whaterton Investments and the remaining 49 percent held by Delta Beverages (Private) Limited.
BBJ was established in 2005 and started operations in 2006.
The company is headquartered in Harare and the production plant is in Beitbridge close to the raw material which is oranges.
At present, the business obtains its fruit from local farmers in Beitbridge. — @okazunga.