Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Nestle Saga: International Media Rapped

Nestle saga: International media rapped

Herald Reporter

INDUSTRY and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube has criticised international media organisations for their role which culminated in Nestle Zimbabwe suspending its operations in Zimbabwe last week.

Nestle Zimbabwe was buying milk from Gushungo Dairy Estates, which is owned by the First Family, since February. However, the company stopped after it came under pressure from international media and Western detractors to pull out from the deal.

Last week, the company temporarily stopped operations claiming that some of its managers had been questioned by police after they refused to accept milk from a non-contracted supplier.

Minister Ncube, who was tasked with facilitating the reopening of Nestle, said an agreement had been reached on how milk from Gushungo Dairies will be processed.

In an interview yesterday, Minister Ncube said the whole dispute was sparked by hysterical international media in South Africa, UK and US, which campaigned for the boycott of Nestle products because of its links with Gushungo Dairies.

"That was complete madness on the part of those media organisations which actually decided to go on a negative campaign," Minister Ncube said. He said the campaign was going to have a negative effect on Nestle internationally. "Nestle were left with no choice since the campaign was calling for a global boycott of Nestle products," he said. "They had to strike a balance between their relationship here and globally and they realised that they were going to lose out so they had to take action."

Minister Ncube said Government was not going to interfere in the operations of companies and would not dictate which organisations companies should trade with.

"Zimbabwe has no policy of forcing companies to trade with anyone. Decisions lie with the companies themselves on whom to trade with. No company has ever been forced to trade with certain organisations. There is autonomy for all companies here and international media should stop this madness of trying to paint a bad picture of Zimbabwe," he said.

Minister Ncube said his ministry was interested in ensuring companies traded in a free environment and if there are any disagreements they should be resolved amicably.

"My ministry is responsible for making sure that businesses survive and grow. In regard to Nestle, we had to make sure their business survives and grows and the same applies for Gushungo Dairy Estates.

"We cannot have companies grounded because of a trade dispute, so we only strive to make sure they are both safe to operate," Minister Ncube added.

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