Blue Ribbon Foods to commission plant

BLUE Ribbon Foods (BRI), a subsidiary of Tanzania’s Bakhresa Group, is set to commission its new US$5 million plant in August this year, businessdigest has learnt.

By Kudzai Kuwaza

Blue Ribbon’s head of human resources, Moses Shumba, told businessdigest last week that the equipment for the plant, which will be based in Msasa, Harare, has arrived from Turkey.

“We have set August as the commissioning month,” Shumba said. “Right now I can say we are on course. We have received all the equipment from Turkey as well as the technicians who are installing the plant. Of course, quite a number of tasks have to be done. Some of the labour will be coming from Bakhresa.”

He said six technicians have come from the Turkish company which is the sole supplier of the plant.

Shumba said the new plant will have a storage capacity of 700 tonnes of wheat.

He said that the company’s capacity utilisation is just above half due to foreign currency constraints. “At the moment we are just above 50%. The bottom line is that we need to import wheat to complement the local wheat that we have,” Shumba said.

“The hindrance is that we need forex to bring that wheat. You know all of us are queuing for the forex, so this is the challenge that we have and it has affected our capacity utilisation.”

He said the company has enjoyed a good a harvest of maize through the government-sponsored command agriculture programme. Bakhresa won the bid to take over the company in 2013. It was closed down in 2012 due to funding constraints and was placed under judicial management.

Blue Ribbon is known for its Chibataura and Ngwerewere mealie-meal brands, and Blue Ribbon flour. Bakhresa has operations in Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda and Seychelles. – The Independent