Conveyer belt traps Arenel worker

BUOYED by enhanced production capacity following recent capital investments, diversified food producer, Arenel Private Limited now targets a widening export market beyond Africa while creating more job opportunities.

The Bulawayo-headquartered company has invested more than US$3 million towards a new plant and equipment since the last quarter of 2020.

It is also one of the more than 4 000 entities across the country that are benefiting from the foreign currency allotments under the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) foreign currency auction system, which was introduced in June last year.

In a recent interview after a tour of Arenel by the Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Judith Ncube and members of the local Joint Operation Command, the firm’s compliance officer Mr. Stephen Ncube said the business was exporting into the region, with a footprint in South Africa while also supplying to Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique.

The company has recently been on an expansion drive and believes it now has the capacity to meet demand from the local market as well as demand for exports.

“We’re looking beyond those few countries that I’ve just mentioned. We are looking at exporting even as far as East Africa, Europe, and also the United Arab Emirates,” he said.

“We have invested in excess of US$3 million since the last quarter of last year. The investment includes the carbonated soft drinks plant, pasta plant, and the jelly sweet depositing plant.”

The company has since January this year created an additional 200 jobs directly, bringing the company’s employment figure to above 700 when all the plants are running.

“Right now, we are not running all the factories, we have got a total of 500 employees,” said Mr. Ncube.

The entity, which also produces an assortment of products that include biscuits, mayonnaise, amahewu and sweets, is one of Bulawayo’s top companies that has been granted a special economic zone (SEZ) status.

The development is meant to consolidate the firm’s production efficiencies through the enjoyment of economies of scale that come as a result of the SEZs status.

Through the SEZ status, Arenel has also been granted an authorised economic operator licence, which enables it to enjoy special treatment at ports of entry.

The authorised economic operator licence was granted by the Government through the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra). — Chronicle

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