Nqobile Bhebhe, Senior Business Reporter
A re-vamped Cold Storage Company (CSC) Boustead Beef Zimbabwe processing plant resumes operations in Bulawayo today with officials optimistic that all measures have been taken to ensure smooth operations.
The massive beef processing plant is being revamped under a US$400 million Joint Venture Farming Concession Agreement with Boustead Beef Zimbabwe, a United Kingdom-based investor.
Coming for the first time in 20 years, CSC re-opening is expected to bring economic boom across the value chain through value addition, economists have said.
Vice-President, Dr Constantino Chiwenga is expected to preside over the re-opening.
Yesterday, the Chronicle news crew toured the facility, which was a hive of activity with 14 beasts having been delivered in preparation for slaughter. Workers were busy with duties at various points of the plant.
Plant engineer, Mr Munyaradzi Masiswa, said they are ready to resume operations.
“From the technical side of the plant, we are very prepared to resume operations and start competing with other abattoirs that are in existence bearing in mind that the plant had stopped running for a long time,” he told Business Chronicle.
“We have tried to revamp the whole plant to ensure that we bring it back to its original status and eventually to its full installed operating capacity.
“Although it will take a long time to get back to its peak capacity, it is ready to carry out that task.”
Mr Masiswa indicated that all key structures have been refurbished with some new equipment installed.
“In the abattoir system, without the conveyors and refrigeration there is no abattoir to talk about. So, all those sections that contribute to the abattoir equipment have been attended to,” he said.
“Over and above that, we have a section that may not be considered for human consumption, but supports other industries having been refurbished. That section has by-products that support other industries that include soap making.”
Asked on the contingency measures put in place to ensure uninterrupted power supply, Mr Masiswa said they were confident that management is engaging the relevant authorities such Zesa to ensure constant supply of power.
“Without power, we are doomed because power does not only help us produce high quality products, but if we have power surges it means that the equipment might be damaged,” he said.
Boustead Beef Zimbabwe’s main mandate is to revive the strategic company’s operations across the country by refurbishing industrial assets such as ranches, feedlots and residential properties.
According to a preliminary launch programme from the Government, Dr Chiwenga will be accompanied by Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka, Deputy Minister Davis Marapira and permanent secretary, Dr John Basera and Minister of State for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Judith Ncube.
A tour of the plant would be conducted before commissioning.
The UK-based investor, Boustead Beef, entered into a 25-year joint venture agreement with the Government in January 2019 to revive CSC, but the parties jointly filed for corporate rescue in December 2020 after some creditors sought to file for liquidation. – @nqobilebhebhe.