BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
SPIRITS and wine maker African Distillers Limited (Afdis) says it has not resumed cider exports into the region due to the prevailing restrictive economic environment.
The currency distortions are making it hard for Afdis to price its products.
Afdis had been exporting into the region after it commissioned its US$5 million cider packaging line in 2014, but shelved exports in 2016 as regional currencies weakened against the United States dollar.
“The business has not managed to export ciders into the region, given the prevailing economic environment which makes it very difficult to be price competitive in these markets. We remain hopeful that when the economy recovers, there will be better export opportunities for the company,” managing director Cecil Gombera told NewsDay.
“The production process requires substantial amounts of forex and this has been scarce for a while now. The business has been struggling to secure critical raw materials and spare parts to enable the smooth running of operations,” he said.
Going forward, Gombera said focus would now be on business continuity as they endeavour to maintain brand visibility across its product portfolio at competitive prices.
“Cognisant of the need to retain its customer base and protect market share, the business will implement strategies designed to soften the immense pressure on disposable incomes likely to affect demand. Product availability for the rest of 2019 is anticipated to be fair throughout the market,” he said.