By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THE country’s leading beverages manufacturer, Delta Corporation, has reported a staggering 57% decline in beer sales volumes in the first quarter of 2019, when compared to the same period last year.
According to Delta, sorghum beer volumes grew by 2% against prior year figures while sparkling beverages volumes dropped 79% in the same period
In a statement Wednesday, Delta Corporation company secretary Alex Makamure said product supply has been consistent despite the difficulties in accessing imported packaging materials and services, foreign currency shortages and drought.
“There are concerns about the supply of agricultural cereals arising from the drought and the recent changes to the marketing policies,” Makamure said.
“The fundamental changes in the economy arising from the recent fiscal and monetary policies have significantly affected the business and the availability of foreign currency remains a challenge, disrupting imported supplies into the value chain.”
According to Makamure the company’s foreign suppliers remain edgy about the country.
“Foreign suppliers remain cautious about Zimbabwe country risk thus compromising the smooth flow of imported materials.
“The macro-economic changes have led to a surge in inflation and a fast depreciating exchange rate which have resulted in the erosion of disposable incomes and reduced consumer spending,” the statement said.
Makamure suggested a price increase could be on the way for Delta’s products.
“Our product prices have not yet factored in the full impact of the depreciation of the exchange rate,” he said.
Delta is also facing stiff competition from cheap lagers and whiskeys, which are being smuggled into the country through the country’s porous borders especially Mozambique.
The company increased beer prices in April with opaque beer pegged at $7.50 while clear been prices range between $8 and $15 depending on brand and quality.