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Zimbabwe’s first lady goes into competition with Nestle

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Emine Dilek
WVoN co-editor 

Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe has opened her own dairy business in competition with Swiss food conglomerate Nestle which has been doing business in Zimbabwe for more than 50 years.

The Mugabes will now sell milk and dairy products under the first lady’s own brand, called Alpha Omega.

Her foray into the food industry is the result of a battle between the Mugabes and Nestle which dates back to 2009 when the multinational giant stopped buying milk from her farm after an intense global consumer boycott led by South African pressure group PASSOP.

The controversy erupted when it emerged that Nestle was buying milk from a farm that had been seized during the land ‘reform’ programme and handed over to Mrs Mugabe. Scores of people and organizations called for a boycott of Nestle products, if the company did not stop buying milk from her.

Nestle eventually cut its commercial ties, but the Mugabe administration has been pressuring the corporate giant ever since to buy milk from the farm again.

Having realised that the company was not going to shift its position, she decided to start her own brand.

A report on the website of SW Radio Africa says her venture is almost guaranteed to be successful, given that her husband has been systematically destroying the dairy industry in Zimbabwe.

It took him just five years, says the report, after the first land invasion in 2000 to reduce the dairy herd in Zimbabwe by as much as 80%, which involved slaughtering dairy cows for their meat or maiming them in random acts of cruelty.

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