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Nestlé receives security pledges from Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe has asked Swiss-based Nestlé to resume operations in the country, after the food multinational shut down its factory three days ago, citing harassment.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper reported that the government had guaranteed the operations of the firm and its staff from interference.

Nestlé, which has its headquarters in Vevey on Lake Geneva, said it had received an unannounced visit from government officials and police on December 19 and was forced to accept milk delivery from non-contracted suppliers.

Two of its managers were questioned by police and released without charge the same day.

The Heald quoted Zimbabwe Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube as saying a deal had been reached allowing Nestlé to continue operating.

In October, Nestlé stopped buying milk from Gushungo Dairy Estates, a farm taken over by the family of President Robert Mugabe under his controversial land reforms.

At the time, Nestlé said the farm accounted for ten to 15 per cent of its local milk supply.

Nestlé’s decision to halt operations has been considered a setback in efforts to rebuild a country that has been severely damaged by a decade of economic decline.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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