Bulawayo-based firm, Bernard Remegious Bakery (BRB), is planning to spread the distribution of its products into the Zambian market following its successful participation at the latest Zambia Agriculture and Commercial Show.
Bernard Remegious Bakery (BRB) was one of the approximately 30 local firms that headed ZimTrade’s call to exhibit at this year’s Zambia Agriculture and Commercial Show (ZACS).
ZACS is Zambia’s largest trade exhibition event and this year’s event was held under the theme, “Innovation Through Technology”.
BRB’s sales director, Augustine Mangwiro, said the ZACS was an opportunity for his company to diversify its market out of Zimbabwe.
Prospects look bright as the company managed to sell all the cookies it had brought from Zimbabwe.
BRB produces a range of products including cookies, bread, peanut butter, doughnuts, pies, and rockbuns among others.
“The Zambian market is something that we are interested in and we are happy with the response that we have received at this showcase.
“It’s (ZACS) is showing us that customers in Zambia are interested in our products.”
Mangwiro said the company is now looking forward to expanding supplies into the Zambian market.
He disclosed that a significant number of customers had indicated their willingness to partner with BRB in the Zambian market.
“Some want to be our agencies, some want us to deliver to their shops, though nothing is concrete as yet.
We need to go back home and give them the vital information that they need,” Mangwiro said.
He said BRB is likely to focus not only in Lusaka, but also Ndola and other cities.
Mangwiro said at some point the company had a depot in Victoria Falls that was supplying the Zambian market in Livingstone, but had to close following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Commenting on the size of BRB in terms of human resources Mangwiro said the firm employs approximately 40 people.
On raw materials, Mangwiro said everything was being imported and in cases where they buy locally, everything is charged in foreign currency.
BRB uses plastic containers of various sizes for its cookies.
He described the policy environment as complex as results have not always come out as promised.
Though BRB’s products are competitive quality-wise, Mangwiro said the competition was coming from products coming from South Africa.
Meanwhile, trade fairs that the country’s trade development and export promotion body Zimtrade facilitates for local firms to participate in are very beneficial as they have allowed exhibitors to expand and grow their footprint into export markets.
Participating firms including BRB have since applauded the exhibition platforms which they said have been very beneficial as they have allowed them to expand into the region and earn the much-needed foreign currency.
Zimplow senior marketing officer Sandra Gumbo said trade exhibitions expose her firm to the national agriculture strategies of different countries and this helps her company to realise opportunities.
“From what we have experienced from our engagements at the show (ZACS) there is need to grow agriculture, there is need to mechanise and increase production and we are here to support that drive.
“So I think exhibitions are a very good initiative in terms of bringing new output to the market and getting new exposure and marketing our brands,” she said.
Tanganda marketing officer Tsitsi Kumadiro said the firm has registered significant growth in the Zambian market and exhibiting at the ZACS allows for continuous interaction with customers.
“You find every time when we come back the customer is already waiting and wanting to see what is new on the market.”
She said the Zambian market has helped Tanganda increase capacity utilisation of the new machines at the Zimbabwe factory and allowing more products to be exported into the Zambian market.
Choice Rusike of Jadesave Investments said her company was motivated by the need to make Zimbabwe an upper-middle-income economy by 2030.
She applauded the Government for taking the initiative to promote women-led businesses even in previously male-dominated industries such as the construction sector.
“We are so excited about the policies that have promoted women that have been put in place by the government of Zimbabwe to ensure that women participate in male dominated industries.
“Industrial chemicals is the preserve of man but because of the policies that the government has put in place we are very excited to be here and we are very happy to contribute to the pillars of NDS1 which is growth.”
Das Foods Product development executive Sibusisiwe Chitewe said her company has been and intends to continue to participate at more trade fairs facilitated by ZimTrade as her firm is focused on growing the export markets.
She said trade shows have given her firm the much-needed exposure in the export market to as far as Italy.
“We understand that as a country we have a responsibility to build the economy of our country instead of us importing products we can produce locally.
“We are focused on the export market so that we can generate the much-needed foreign currency in our country,” said Chitewe.