Nestle to stop buying milk from Mugabe's farm

2nd October 2009, Comments 0 comments

The Swiss food giant Nestle said it would stop receiving milk from Zimbabwe's Gushungo Dairy Estate from Sunday.

Johannesburg -- Nestle said Thursday that it will stop buying milk from a farm owned by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's family, who seized it from white farmers under his controversial land reforms.

The world's biggest food company said in a statement on its website that it began buying milk from Gushungo Dairy Estate and seven other farms in February because the local dairy processor, Dairy Board of Zimbabwe, was not able to pay for its orders.

"In February 2009 the food and economic crisis in Zimbabwe reached a level where the dairy industry was at real risk of collapse, and the Dairy Board was no longer able to buy milk from these eight farms," the statement said.

"In light of our long-term commitment to Zimbabwe, we bought this milk on a temporary basis. This helped prevent a further deterioration in food supplies in Zimbabwe at that time."

Nestle said the Dairy Board would resume its purchases from the eight farms, and that the Swiss firm would stop receiving milk from Gushungo from Sunday.

Newspaper reports in late September revealed that Nestle was buying milk from Gushungo, one of the farms seized under Mugabe's land reforms meant to correct colonial-era inequities that left the best land in the hands of whites.

Gushungo is one of several farms now controlled by Mugabe's family, and has been praised in state media as an example of successful land reforms.

The land reforms began in 2000 but were hurt by widespread political violence, devastating the economy as agricultural production fell sharply, leaving the nation dependent on international food aid.

AFP / Expatica

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