Tanzanian president Kikwete visits CSD
Bakhresa Food Products Limited Carbonated Soft Drinks ( CSD ) and Fruit pulping plants at Mwandege, Mkuranga were honoured with a visit and official inauguration of the plants by His Excellency Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete the President of the United Republic of Tanzania on October 4, 2013. This visit was part of the President’s itinerary to visit key projects in Pwani ( Coast ) region.
The President and his entourage arrived at the site at 11.30 am where they were received by government officials, Mr Said Salim Bakhresa the Chairman of the Bakhresa Group of companies and entire management team . On arrival the visitors were ushered into the CSD board room for refreshments and the Chairman’s speech which was read on his behalf by Mr Solomon Nzano the Operations Manager Carbonated Soft Drinks Division.
Mr Bakhresa opened with welcoming remarks to the President and thanked him for finding time out of his busy schedule to come and visit the plants and officially inaugurate their operations. This he said was a testimony of the importance that he attached to the key role the industrial sector played in the economy and development of the country. The following areas were the highlights of the Chairman’s speech.
The total area size in which lie the Carbonated Soft Drinks and Fruit Pulping plants is 62 acres. Daily fruit pulping capacity of the latter plant is 220 metric tons which will increase to 330 tons by December, 2013 on commissioning a new pulping line. Operations of the fruit pulping plant started in 2010 and by the last season of 2013 a total 67,000 Tons of fruit have been pulped. This coming season the plant forecasts to pulp 30,000 Tons of fruit out of which 20,000 Tons will be Mangoes. Fruits which are pulped in this plant are mangoes, pineapples, oranges, guava and passion. There are plans at an advanced stage to enable the plant to pulp tomatoes, avocado, watermelons and pears.
As part of the company’s strategy to add value into some of the locally grown fruits the company boasts of a very successful Carbonated Soft Drinks plant which was commissioned in May, 2011 with 2 bottling lines. In June 2012 the third bottling line was commissioned. Products manufactured in this plant include Azam Cola, Azam Embe, Azam Tropical, Azam Sodas range of drinks, Azam Malt flavoured drinks and Safina drinking water. This plant has an installed capacity to produce 72,000 cases per day which will be doubled by end of quarter 1, 2014 when the ongoing expansion plan is completed. Current daily consumption of fruit pulps supplied from the Fruit Pulping plant is 24 metric Tons a figure which will also double with the increased bottling capacity in 2014.
Total project investment on the site for both plants is US Dollars 120 Million with direct jobs creation of up to 400 people. The Chairman assured the President of the company’s commitment in further investment in this sector to ensure value addition for the farmers’ produce and at the same time creating ready market for them.
The Chairman reiterated the following as the challenges facing the operations:-
Inadequate Power Supply
Power supply by Tanesco from the national grid is not sufficient to run the plants. Consequently the plants are operating on diesel generators which is very costly. The current operating carbonated soft drinks plant alone requires 7,000 KVA which will increase to 17,000 KVA when the expansion phase is completed early next year. The Chairman requested for the Government’s intervention to resolve the issue.
The existence of many regulatory bodies whose duties overlap on food quality and safety issues is cumbersome and increasing the cost of doing business. Their roles need to be streamlined to avoid duplication of their roles
The President promised to take up the matters with concerned party’s with a view to finding solutions
In his closing remarks Mr Bakhresa welcomed the President for a tour of both the Carbonated Soft Drinks and Fruit Pulping plants after which he officially inaugurated them