By John Kachembere
Trade Kings Zimbabwe says it is confident of generating foreign currency for the country after completing its $20 million detergent manufacturing plants.
The fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company, which is battling to secure foreign currency for imported raw materials such as chemicals, said its detergent powder manufacturing plants have adequate capacity to supply both local and regional export markets.
“Through exports Trade Kings Zimbabwe will generate much needed foreign currency whereas local production will also reduce the country’s current reliance on imported detergent products,” the firm said, adding that they will support numerous local industries once production commences, either directly or indirectly.
Trade Kings’ detergent powder manufacturing plant was commissioned in October 2017. Construction of all buildings, warehouses and offices on site are complete together with supporting infrastructure — boiler house, access roads, transformers, chemical and fuel storage tanks, coal yard, back-up generators and raw material preparation areas among other things.
Plant construction and installation were done through local contractors under the supervision of Desmet Ballestra — global leaders in spray drying and detergent technology.
Ballestra designed and supplied all of the process machinery within the powder plant that will be used to make detergent powder — delivering a state-of-the-art production facility that is the first of its kind within southern Africa
However, commercial production has been stalled by acute foreign currency shortages being experienced in the country, resulting in Zimbabwe continuing to lose the much needed foreign currency to detergent imports.
Trade Kings indicated that a smaller detergent paste plant will also be commissioned this month, following significant delays experienced in clearing critical spares and equipment from South Africa as a result of the challenges being faced at Beitbridge border post over the last few months.
At full capacity, the plants will employ between 400 and 500 people, the majority of which will be involved in production and develop skills associated with latest technology and machinery. Staff training in preparation for commercial production was carried out in late 2017 by engineers from overseas who spent time on site working closely with our local staff in commissioning of the plant,” the company said.
Raw materials for commissioning and trial production were delivered to site in mid-2017, the majority of which are imported from overseas.
“At a time when government is looking to resuscitate local industry and reduce the current import bill, we firmly believe that our detergent plants will serve as an excellent example to others and promote investment into local manufacturing,” the company added.
— The Financial Gazette