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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 March 2006, 10:33 GMT
Zimbabwe Coca-Cola stocks dry up
Coke bottle
Bottling plants have run out of imported syrup
Zimbabwe has run out of locally manufactured Coca-Cola.

Retailers were told bottling plants in Zimbabwe had run out of the imported syrup used to make the drink and supplies would resume later this month.

The cola drought is the latest symptom of a foreign currency crisis gripping the country.

Agents in Harare for the US-based soft drink company said local production of the drink had stopped earlier this month, but refused to give a reason.

However, Coca-Cola agents told shop and bar owners that syrup had not been imported owing to foreign currency shortages, AP news agency reports.

Coca-Cola is normally available even in small villages in Zimbabwe, and supplies continued even throughout the bush war that led to independence in 1980.

Zimbabweans have endured shortages of fuel and basic foodstuffs in recent years, as a result of a foreign currency shortage.

The government blames the crisis on sanctions, while its opponents say a controversial land reform programme is responsible for a sharp drop in agricultural export earnings.

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