CAPACITY utilisation at struggling Cairns Foods Limited has increased to 35 percent, up from five percent in 2012, an official said.
CEO Jeremiah Kwenda, said this was after the company secured $1 million Distressed Marginalised Areas Fund (Dimaf) through ministry of industry and commerce.
“Capacity utilisation has slightly increased to 35 percent as compared to five percent in December 2012.
“This follows the disbursement of $1 million Dimaf loan by the ministry,” Kwenda told New Zimbabwe.com.
He said the company has also managed to raise close to $800,000 from their own operations.
Kwenda added that the situation is expected to further improve by year end following the procurement of the state of the art machinery from China.
“By year end ,capacity utilisation is expected to further increase because we have procured state of the machinery from China which we are expecting in the country soon.
“We managed to generate $800,000 which we also channelled towards repairs and procurement of new machinery so that we increase production and competitiveness. We have not borrowed the money from any bank,” said Kwenda.
He said their employment establishment currently stands at 800 workers as compared to less than 200 in 2012.
The company has revived contract farming with small holder farmers across the country as part of their grand plan to increase production.
“This year alone, we have 200 hectares for Michigan beans alone under contract farming. We are working with small holder farmers from as far Mutoko, Mount Darwin, and Gokwe.
“We are also working with small holder farmers from Chivhu to revive groundnuts growing for commercial purposes,” said Kwenda.
The acting CEO also said they have partnered with fruit growers in Manicaland province so as to adopt world agronomy habits and activities.
“We want our fruit growers in the province to adopt world agronomy habits and activities so that they can increase fruit output because we are producing jam and it comes from fruits,” said Kwenda.
He said Cairns had recently reduced its exports because they were finding it difficult to satisfy the local market.
“Our exports are limited and we are just doing so to keep our presence in the foreign market.
“Our capacity is limited because we are finding it difficult to satisfy the local market so it does not make sense to export when home market is not satisfied,” said Kwenda.Advertisement
The local market was consuming 500,000 cases of jam and beans every month.
Kwenda bemoaned the influx of cheap imports, particularly, from South Africa and Mozambique, saying they were impacting negatively on their efforts to revive the local industry.