Nestle Zimbabwe on Monday confirmed media reports
that one of its milk suppliers is Gushungo Dairy Estates, controlled by Grace Mugabe, wife of the president.
Nestle Zimbabwe corporate media relations chief Robin Tickle said most of the company's contractual suppliers went out of business so it has been forced to buy milk on the open market - which includes milk from Gushungu Dairy Estates.
Press reports said Gushungu, about 50 kilometers north of Harare, was seized from a white owner under the land reform program that President Robert Mugabe launched in 2000.Tickle said Gushungo provides 10-15% percent of Nestle's milk supply.
The spokesman said that despite the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe, Nestle has not moved its business outside the country and continues to provide food and jobs to Zimbabweans.
Although Nestle, based in Switzerland, is not bound by U.S. or European Union sanction, some have urged the company not to do business with the Mugabes.
Independent political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that although Nestle is not legally obliged to refuse to do business with the presidential family, it should not do so as a “matter of principal.”