The leading local food processing company, Associated Foods Zimbabwe, which specialises in the production of peanut butter, jam and fruit canning, has recapitalised and is set to increase production capacity by at least 25 percent as the company diversifies operations.

The company has installed a new baked-beans plant line that is expected to up the company’s production levels from 750 tonnes to at least 950 tonnes annually.

The company’s operations manager, Joseph Mavu said the new plant line, that will need more funding to fully install, will result in increased production of 200 tonnes every month, operating under a single shift and 400 tonnes if the company chooses to operate the plant line under a double shift.

“The new baked-beans plant line will increase the company’s production capacity by at least 25 percent with the customers expected to enjoy a new canned beans product on the market. The plant is now operational but will cost up to US$300 000 to fully install,” he said.

Mr Mavu said the improved capacity utilisation should also excite farmers as his company is starting a new out-grower scheme for white pea beans that are not grown in Zimbabwe at the moment, with the local production expected to cut the cost of importing the beans.

“We are starting an out-grower scheme for white pea beans as they are not grown locally. Currently we are importing the produce as we push for a new product on the market,” he added.

In Africa white pea bean, that is mainly associated with the state of Michigan, is mainly grown in South Africa, Malawi and Ethiopia.

Associated Foods Zimbabwe was established on 1 January 2016 as a result of a merger between Zimbabwe’s leading producer of jams, Honeywood Enterprises Limited and its leading producer of peanut butter, Spread Valley Limited.