At the end of February, Indian press announced that Indian beverages firm, Varun Beverages, is eyeing agro-processing business in a move meant to boost export earnings for the country with an investment of not less than USD 30 million in the pipeline. Varun Beverages is a distributor of PepsiCo products In June last year, the beverages maker launched its beverages plant that produces Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Mirinda and 7Up.
In a recent interview, Pepsi group chief executive officer Krishnan Shankar, said the group was looking at establishing a potato and tomato processing plant in the country. The plant will not only boost employment creation through value addition and beneficiation processes, but will also reduce post-harvest losses that farmers incur, especially small scale growers.
“We are now looking at opportunities of establishing a tomato processing plant; basically what the country needs are exports and so we are looking at the export potential for these two crops. Local consumption is something else, we are mainly looking at earning foreign currency for the country, which is very important to enable the importation of raw materials for other things like packaging and concentrates. […] The entire project will be nothing less than USD25 million or USD30 million,” Krishnan Shankar said during a meeting with a Japanese business delegation which intends to invest in India and Indian business people operating in Zimbabwe. Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Rungsung Masakui said this was the right time to set up base in Zimbabwe as there were great opportunities to explore.
On the beverages side, Varun exports 10 percent of its production to Botswana and Malawi and is looking at expanding into other regional markets such as Mozambique and Namibia to further cushion it from foreign currency challenges.
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