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Innscor  launches  brewery to produce Nyathi  beer 

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 BY TONDERAI MARUKE

After spending US$70 million on new investments last year, Innscor is spending a further US$56 million for the coming year on new projects.

One of these projects may make Delta Corporation sit up.

It is already the country’s largest and most successful food producer, with profitable interests from poultry to maize meal and beverages.

Now Innscor is looking to add another unit – beer. Company executives told an analysts’ briefing recently that Innscor expects to launch a brewery, Buffalo Brewing Company, early in 2023. It will launch a beer brand, called Nyathi.

The first bottles of Nyathi beer have already rolled off the new line at ProBottlers in Harare. The Buffalo brewery will be in Stapleford, near Harare, where the company has repurposed a factory shell.

Can Innscor take on Delta, which has the Zimbabwe beer market in a chokehold? Delta controls 86% of the traditional beer market and 95% of lager sales.

In the year to March 2022, Delta sold 372 million litres of traditional beer, the highest amount in five years. So strong is the demand that Delta is investing in extra capacity.

“Chibuku Super is constrained by the limited production capacity. A new Chibuku Super plant is being installed at Harare brewery for commissioning in early 2023,” according to Delta.

Delta has also introduced a new Chibuku variant, Chibuku Scud Plus, which has a longer shelf-life, and jazzed things up with a banana-flavoured Chibuku Super.

In terms of lagers, in 2021, Delta sold 190 million litres, the most since 2019. It has launched new beer brands, such as Sable, and loyalty to its brands remains strong.

A new competitor in the clear beer business would have to work overtime to break this stranglehold.

Rumours of a potential future partnership with Heineken abound, which would be a twist given that Heineken recently bought Distell, which owns Afdis, a Delta associate.

Delta has already shown how aggressive it can be in fending off competition. It has fought off competition in the fizzy drinks market from Varun, which makes Pepsi, and Innscor itself, which produces the Fizzi brands.

Key for Innscor is the strategy that has made it a success for years; using its value chains and expansive distribution networks. Pricing and product quality will also be essential for market penetration.

To take on Delta in the traditional brew business, Innscor may have to step up its investments in cropping to increase sorghum supplies, possibly through its farming unit PHI Commodities, which has three farms and is expanding.

Delta gets its supplies of barley and sorghum by contracting thousands of local farmers. In 2021, it bought 40,000 tonnes of barley from 47 contracted farmers.

Delta also took in 13,500 tonnes of sorghum, grown by 10,000 communal farmers and 50 commercial farmers.

Innscor’s entry into the beer market will interest investors as it will diversify its products even further, according to stockbrokers IH Securities.

“US$56mn in additional investment into capacity has been planned for FY23 with the announced launch of the Sorghum beer line from Buffalo Brewing company going into deepening product offering,” IH says.

Analyst Yona Banda adds that Innscor’s entry into the brewery business will bring some competition into the market.

He says: “The Buffalo Brewing Company stands out as an interesting proposition, given the absence of competition in the local commercial beer market”. – newZwire

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Binga by-elections called off: ZEC

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BY STAFF REPORTER 

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has suspended the by-elections for wards 6, 8, 10, 15, and 23 of Binga Rural District Council in Matabeleland North Province which were scheduled for Saturday. 

ZEC chief elections officer Utloile Silaigwana made the announcement on Friday following a High Court order after  Collen Mudenda challenged the nomination of the five councillors who were recalled in October by the MDC-T party. 

“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission would like to inform members of the public that the High Court has ordered the suspension of by-elections for wards 6, 8, 10, 15, and 23 of Binga Rural District Council scheduled for Saturday 03 December 2022,” Silaigwana said. 

“This follows urgent chamber applications by Collen Mudenda who challenged the nominations of John Simunene Sikabotu, Kingson Mpofu, Mathias Mudenda, Joseph Mwembe, and Wilson Siampolomba on the grounds that they were disqualified from contesting as candidates in terms of Section 119 (2) (h) of the Electoral Act.

“The Section states that a person shall be disqualified from being nominated as a candidate on the nomination day or the day of an election when he or she is in default with the payment of any levy, rate, charge, or tax due and payable to the council concerned for more than 120 days.”

Silaigwana said the High Court ordered that the Commission should not proceed with the by-elections for the five wards pending the hearing of thr cases which was postponed to  January 4, next year. 

He, however said  despite the Binga order, by-elections for ward 20 of Binga Rural District Council, wards 4, 5, and 18 of Gweru Municipality, and ward 28 of Mberengwa Rural District Council will go ahead ahead as scheduled on Saturday. 

 

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Myths on Covid-19 pandemic spread across Hwange

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BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI

Innocent Tevedzai, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Chamber of informal Association for People With Disabilities  says after getting inoculated vaccines to prevent Covid-19 pandemic, he was told that he will lose his fertility in the coming years. 

Royal Ndlovu, a Victoria Falls Combined Residents Association member says he was also discouraged from taking the vaccines after he heard that he was not only going to lose his fertility, but vaccines also meant losing his libido. 

Zimbabwe first rolled out Covid-19 vaccines early last year with the country relying mostly on Chinese made vaccines to bring the pandemic that paralysed the economy under control. 

 

Hwange district, where Ndlovu and Tevedzai come from was one of the areas that were prioritised by the government in the vaccination blitz as it sought to have tourist resorts re-opened for tourists, but community listening sessions held by VicFallsLive in some parts of Hwange district in Matabeleland North showed that some people are still sceptical about the safety of the vaccines.

Community leaders said the government did little to counter the misinformation, which is largely blamed on social media and this fuelled vaccination hesitancy. 

As such, ordinarily, Zimbabweans are caught up in a lot of myths and of course misinformation about the pandemic.

“We were told that we will not be able to conceive as this was intentionally done to reduce the population.” Tevedzai said. 

“Lack of verified information made it worse for us because we had to be vaccinated to gain public access at the time when misinformation and social ills such as teen pregnancies rose.” 

Hwange villagers, like other people in many parts of Zimbabwe were victims of misinformation about the vaccines, including allegations that those who got the Covid-19 vaccine will turn into baboons or that the vaccines were part of a scheme to reduce Africa’s population.

Even the World Health Organization says the Covid-19 outbreak and response was accompanied by an overabundance of information, some accurate and some not.

For Michael Ncube, a Victoria Falls City Council’ acting Public Health Officer, “this makes it tough for people to then find reliable sources and dependable guidance when they need it to fully curtail coronavirus,” he said. 

The myths Ncube added, included claims on cures and prevention.

 “For instance, people were told that when they vaccinate they will lose fertility or will die as this was deliberately done by the government to reduce Zimbabweans population, which is just mythical and therefore untrue,”

“We would like to assure out residents that the vaccines are safe and the country has highly specialised health personnels who also confirmed them and because of those vaccines, that’s why we have managed to set a barrier to prevent the transmission and that has paid off, as we have seen hospitalisations and deaths reduced and the economy fully opened.”

Zimbabwe has administered over 12 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines so far. 

 

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Armed robber storms Victoria Falls bank, walks away with US$12K

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BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI 

Zimbabwe Republic Police have revealed that the robber who held at ransom ZB bank workers on Wednesday after pretending to be applying for a bank loan got away with US$12 000 cash. 

The man dressed in black and white jersey, a hat and khaki as captured hours later through bank cameras pointing a shotgun towards workers while loading the money in his satchel that he was holding.

“The ZRP confirms that a robbery occurred at ZB Bank, Victoria Falls, on 30/11/22 at around 15.55 pm hours where an unknown suspect, armed with an unidentified pistol, posed as a genuine customer who wanted to enquire on the requirements to apply for a bank loan, “police said in a statement. 

“As the bank was about to close for the day, the suspect remained behind while other customers were leaving. After all the other customers had left, he produced a pistol and ordered the bank tellers to surrender cash in their tills. 

“The suspect stole US$12 000 before fleeing through the back exit door. Investigations are underway to account for the suspect.”

According to sources, the man was seen walking away until he disappeared. 

Meanwhile, police said they were also investigating an armed robbery case which occurred at a college in Chitunguza’s Seke residency on Monday, where three unknown suspects, armed with three unidentified pistols, attacked a security guard who was on duty at the premises and stole US$3 094 fuel coupons, US$8 076, and $43 100 cash after vandalising a safe. 

 

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