By Oliver Kazunga
Bread manufacturer Bakers Inn has begun installation of its $5 million new production line in Bulawayo after completing civil works, an official has said.
The installation of new equipment is set to increase production capacity to 220 000 loaves a day from 120 000.
The new production line being installed at Belmont Industrial site is expected to be up and running by end of June resulting in the leading bread manufacturer consolidating its footprint in the southern part of the country.
Bakers Inn engineering manager, Mr Evans Mhepo, said mounting of some of the equipment at the plant has started.
“Civil works for the installation of our new production line are complete and we have started installing some of the plant’s equipment. As you can see the ovens are being mounted and by the end of the month that task would have been completed,” he said.
The civil works for the Bakers Inn new production line among others include steel tiling, equipment plints and painting, plumbing works for water, sewer, pressure and pipe works and construction of a new office block.
“In terms of plant installation, we are way ahead of our initial target. Our initial target was August but we have realised that we can do the task within three months and thus by June our new plant will be up and running,” said Eng Mhepo.
In a separate interview, the company’s sales and marketing manager Mr Paul Chimboya said the new plant was expected to guarantee customers in the southern region adequate supplies of bread even during periods such as the festive season.
Asked about how his organisation sought to consolidate its market share in light of competition, he said: “Obviously, I cannot reveal the strategies that we will embrace to fight competition in the market. However, we have embraced the concept of depots, which obviously will have enough supplies of all the variants in Gweru, Zvishavane, Gokwe, Hwange, Masvingo and Chiredzi”.
Mr Chimboya said in Bulawayo the market would be split into three areas-the Central Business District covering the eastern suburbs and the Inyathi area 1, which will cover Tsholotsho going to Lupane while Area II would cover the western areas of the city, Gwanda and Plumtree.
With two production lines at present, Bakers Inn general manager, Mr Felix Vazhure, is on record as saying his company was not able to meet demand in the southern region resulting in their factory in Belmont industrial site receiving an additional 40 000 loaves a day from Harare.
It is envisaged that with the coming in of a third production line, the Bulawayo factory would be able to efficiently supply the local market.
At the moment, Bakers Inn employs 532 people in the southern region and if the new plant begins operating full throttle, an additional 200 people would be employed. The Chronicle