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Drought forces Coca-Cola to halt canned drinks in Namibia




Coca-Cola will stop production of all canned drinks in Namibia and has warned consumers of possible shortages, the company said Thursday, as a regional drought worsens across southern Africa.

Businesses in Windhoek, the Namibian capital, have been ordered by city authorities to cut water consumption by 30 percent — underlining the impact of a drought that has also gripped Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi.

“We will cease the manufacturing of all canned products locally — substituting them with imported canned beverages from South Africa,” Frik Oosthuizen, head of Coca-Cola in Namibia, said in a statement to AFP.

“This decision has been taken as a direct result of the water crisis that is facing the Central region of Namibia and we are making every effort to continue to supply our customers.”

Production of all drinks in glass bottles will also be halted at the Coca-Cola factory in Windhoek, but will continue at its plant in the north of the country.

Plastic bottled drinks will still be produced in Windhoek.

A notice posted by US-based Coca-Cola in Namibian newspapers last week warned customers of possible “sporadic shortages country wide”.

“In the short term, prices will not be adjusted,” it added. “We are working on alternatives to ensure sustained full supply.”

Josua Amukugo, Windhoek municipality spokesman, told AFP that the city “highly appreciates the decision to implement our call to use water wisely.”

Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique have all issued drought alerts in recent months with UN World Food Programme (WFP) saying that millions of people have been affected.

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