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Nestle Zimbabwe Says It Will Stop Sourcing Milk From Mugabe-Owned Farm

Facing protests and the threat of a boycott, Nestlé Zimbabwe said on Friday it will no longer purchase milk from Gushungo Dairy Estate, owned by Grace Mugabe, wife of President Robert Mugabe, along with seven other farms supplying Nestle under the same contract.

Nestlé Zimbabwe said it would end the sourcing arrangement effective Oct. 4.

Nestlé spokesman Robin Tickle told VOA that the multinational unit will look for "long-term" suppliers in the country now that the country's economic situation has stabilized.

A Nestlé statement said state-controlled Dairiboard Zimbabwe will now purchase milk from Gushungo and the other seven farms which Nestlé started to purchase in February when the parastatal dairy enterprise no longer had the means to source from the farms.

The South African human rights group AfriForum recently launched an international campaign to boycott Nestlé products if the company did not stop dealing with Gushungo.

Commercial Farmers Union President Deon Theron told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the Nestlé furor could set a precedent for international boycotts of corporations which are sourcing raw materials from seized Zimbabwean farms.

Most of the country's white-owned commercial farms have been seized over the past decade under a fast-track land reform initiative launched by President Mugabe in 2000.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...