Zimplow says Mealie Brand volumes down nearly 90pct as cheap imports flood market

Zimplow says Mealie Brand volumes down nearly 90pct as cheap imports flood market

BULAWAYO, July 27 (The Source) — Farm implements manufacturer Mealie-Brand says volumes of implements have tumbled by 89 percent to 7,200 units from 2012 to date due to the influx of cheaper imports from China.

Mealie Brand is Zimplow’s key agriculture implements unit with markets through-out sub-Saharan Africa.

“We used to manufacture, in 2012, about 66,000 implements and that figure has been coming down. In 2014, that figure had dropped by half. Then in 2015, we managed only to produce 7, 200….. What I can say is that both local and exports volumes have been going down,” managing director Walter Chigwada said in a briefing to Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha during a tour of the company.

The tour was arranged by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI).

Zimplow’s Mealie Brand also exports to the sub-Saharan Africa with its major markets being Angola, Zambia, South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia and Botswana.

The firm produces a wide range of animal drawn implements which provides mechanisation solutions for land preparation, planting, and crop cultivation through to post harvest.

Chigwada said the Zimplow currently employs 70 workers, down from 350 in 2012.

Brand infringements were rife, he added, pointing the finger at Chinese companies who he said were stealing their designs and flooding the market with cheap replicas.

He urged the government to include its products on the import ban list.

“The business urgently needs support through inclusion of its products on Statutory Instrument 64,” said Chigwada.