Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
BUSINESSMAN and miner Mr Farai Taruvinga has embarked on the construction of a multi-million dollar upmarket business complex which is expected to uplift economic activity in the remote Gwatemba area of Insiza District in Matabeleland South Province.
The eye-catching modern architectural business complex situated along the Bulawayo-Masvingo highway would give a facelift to Skuta Business Centre which has a number of old-fashioned shops.
The infrastructure estimated to cost about $5 million would comprise of a convenience store, fast foods restaurant, fresh farm produce outlet, farm inputs store, fuel service station, butchery as well as a leisure centre and a state-of-the-art abattoir at the backyard.
Mr Taruvinga is the owner of Filabusi Abattoir, which the new business venture falls under as well as Progress Mine in Filabusi, which produces about 10 kilogrammes of gold per month. Prior to the abattoir under construction, Filabusi Abattoir was in the business of buying and selling cattle upon fattening them.
“The shopping complex will mainly be selling agricultural produce, these will include stock feed, seed as well as veterinary medicines and apparatus. We will also have a fresh produce outlet where we will be selling an array of horticultural crops from our farm and a butchery selling beef and beef products including meat from small stock like goat, sheep, pork and poultry. It’s more of a farm to fork concept,” said Mr Taruvinga.
He said as part of ensuring constant chicken supplies the company was working on embarking on a poultry contract farming programme.
“We have been in talks with a number of villagers with an aim of engaging them on poultry contract farming. Once we start operating we will distribute feed and chicks to beneficiaries of the poultry project and recover our money when they sell the chickens to us,” said Mr Taruvinga.
He said the new business venture was part of his diversification strategy aimed at ensuring a safety net against downturns by way of relying on a single industry.
“We mooted the idea of coming up with this business as a way of exploring various revenue generating ventures to guard against risks. Of course one of our aims was to create employment. There is a high rate of unemployment in this part of Insiza because there aren’t many gold deposits around thus most of the youths are unemployed. To make matters worse there isn’t much in terms of rain in this area just like the whole of Matabeleland thus people are struggling to make a living,” said Mr Taruvinga.
He said the business, which incorporates both the retail and farming division would attract a workforce of about 100 people.
“We are looking at completing the entire project by September, funds permitting. In terms of superstructure we are about 75 percent complete.
However, we might need a further capital injection of about $3 million of which most of it will go towards completing the abattoir.
“The abattoir which has the capacity of handling 100 carcasses a day has a number of modern and sophisticated equipment and machinery and that’s where most of the funding will be channelled towards. We have made an application for funding from Government,” said Mr Taruvinga.
He said the new project was premised on the concept of agricultural food chain.
“Although we will be having a fuel servicing station, the facility will mainly be selling fuel and engine lubricants to surrounding farmers. We don’t want farmers to travel long distances to refuel. Of course attracting customers and easing the shopping experience is a goal for any retail outlet, and gas stations and convenience stores are no exception.
“You want to draw drivers in from the road, ensure your customers feel safe while refuelling, and enable them to locate products quickly and easily. We are also putting up a leisure centre with beautiful landscape as well as braai stands whereby motorists can afford an opportunity to refresh and thereafter proceed on their journeys,” said Mr Taruvinga.-@DNsingo