Zimbabwe’s once largest meat processor, Cold Storage Company (CSC), has started renovating its infrastructure across the country as the firm makes provisions for resuming after being non-operational for close to two decades fully.
The revival was made possible following a massive capital injection of USD 400 Mn that will be spread over the next five years by its newly found strategic partner, Boustead Beef Zimbabwe.
During its heydays, the beef processor earned Zimbabwe USD 45 Mn annually. Way back during the salad days, the beef processor and marketer used to handle up to 150 000 tonnes of beef and associated by-products yearly. They exported these beef products to the European Union, where it had an annual quota of 9100 tonnes of beef.
As it reopens, CSC will create jobs opportunities for approximately 650 people under the USD 400 Mn deal. The resuscitation of this once largest beef manufacturer in Africa will also boost the economy through beef exports as it will unlock value in the livestock industry.
“Currently, there are only about 240 people employed. As we get Bulawayo up and running we will add another 400 into the operation so we will have up to about 650,” said Boustead Beef Zimbabwe managing director Mr Nick Havercroft. Looking into the future, Havercroft is optimistic that the number of employees will grow further as they will be bringing in a logistics division as well as increase their online presence.
Mr Nick Havercroft divulged this while speaking to a Zimbabwean tabloid where he also said that the technical team were already on the ground at CSC working on refurbishing the equipment. “Right now we have all the engineers in there. We have to refurbish the whole plant as it hasn’t worked for 15 years. Our main challenge is the compressors, which were specifically made for this plant.”
“We will start small operations of about 300 herds a week, and there is a section which we can fix faster than the whole main complex and have it up and running in about 10 weeks,” he said.
He anticipates that Masvingo will be Chinhoyi branches will start operating beginning the first quarter of 2020. For Marondera, he says it may take longer as it is in a very bad state. Boustead Beef Zimbabwe is also repairing infrastructure at CSC’s ranches. “We think it will take about six months before we have the cold room in Bulawayo fully operational.”
CSC Communications Officer, Mr Isaiah Machingura at the end of last week said the resuscitation process is at an advanced stage and the process of restocking its farms is ongoing. “We have already started restocking CSC farms and most of the cattle will come from local farms. We want to engage with local farmers and at each CSC farm is expected to have 5000 cattle. The resuscitation is at an advance stage and all l can say is that CSC is already almost functioning.”
Boustead Beef will take over CSC’s legacy debt of close to USD 100 Mn which its biggest creditors are its employees owed to accrued unpaid salaries. The CSC reportedly has been making an annual loss of USD 6 mn for over 10 years.
Featured Image Courtesy: The Zimbabwe Mail