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Nestle. No longer buying milk from Mugabe’s farm.

By Jackie May | 1 October 2009

grace's farm

In a press statement released at about 6pm tonight Nestlé Zimbabwe announced that it is changing its milk supply arrangements. It will no longer be buying milk from Grace Mugabe’s Gushungo Dairy Estate and the 7 other farms.

The Dairy Board of Zimbabwe today informed these farms that it is now in a position to resume purchasing their milk.

How I wonder did it come about that this week, the week with threats of boycotts, The Dairy Board of Zimbabwe is now in a position to resume purchasing this milk.

Sullivan O’Carroll, the Chairman and Managing Director for Nestle’s South African region told me tonight that it’s very important to understand the context of Nestle’s decision to purchase the milk from Grace and the 7 other farms. Spot farms he called them. Earlier this year, Zimbabwe was in a real crisis, and the dairy industry was at risk of collapse. The local Dairy Board was unable to buy milk from these 8 farms.

Nestle, a company with long-term plans and commitments in Zimbabwe, made a decision to buy this milk on a temporary basis, to help prevent a further deterioration in food supplies in Zimbabwe at that time.

O’Carroll was very careful not to suggest that pressure from the international media and AfriForum’s threat of boycotting Nestle influenced the decision. Although he did say that “We were sad with the reports that AfriForum called for a boycott. We take any negative publicity very seriously. We don’t want to break our consumers trust. Our business is based on trust.”

I asked O’Carroll what Nestle Zimbabwe thought about buying milk from Grace Mugabe. He said “We are in this business for our consumers. If a person in a different country does certain things it’s not for us to comment on their behaviour.”

Here’s the full press statement Read More…