The Sunday News
Judith Phiri and Rutendo Nyeve, Sunday News Reporters
BULAWAYO on Thursday witnessed the re-opening of the re-vamped Cold Storage Company (CSC) Boustead Beef Zimbabwe processing plant which resumes operations after over 20 years of being idle.
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.
The re-opening of the plant is expected to bring economic boom across the value chain through value addition.
Presiding over the official re-opening of the facility after a tour, Acting President, General (Retired) Dr Constantino Chiwenga expressed confidence that the plant will go a long way in aiding the country’s economic revival strategy.
“This plant is a key component in the beef production value chain. May I hasten to state that this event is a crucial indicator of the private sector’s resolve to stimulate growth of the livestock sub-sector by providing a steady market for the slaughter stock for our livestock farmers.
“I am reliably informed that to-date US$24 million has been invested to resuscitate CSC, which has been idle for the past 22 years.”
He said the re-opening marked an important milestone in the transformation of the agricultural sector which commenced with the launch of the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy by President Mnangagwa in 2020.
Dr Chiwenga said the Livestock Growth Plan (2021-25) was one of the five anchors of the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy.
“It envisages growth in the livestock sub-sector to US $1,9 billion by 2025, from the current US $900 million, through a host of interventions that include improved nutrition, animal genetics, animal health, farmer knowledge on best management practices and access to high value domestic and export markets,” he said.
“This sub-sector has strong private sector-led livestock value chains comprising beef, dairy, pork, goat, sheep and poultry production systems; which are actively participating in the implementation of the Livestock Growth Plan.”
The Acting President said CSC Boustead Beef Zimbabwe was joining an increasing number of registered abattoirs in the country that processed more than 70 000 tonnes of meat last year.
He said over 90 percent of livestock was owned by smallholder farmers who provide 85 percent of the slaughter stock.
“The importance of Boustead Beef CSC in the marketing of livestock cannot be over-emphasised. In this regard, it provides a competitive market for the smallholder livestock farmers, who have suffered huge losses through middlemen and other unscrupulous buyers.
“The goal of Government is to develop the livestock sub-sector as a whole. Government is also committed to the opening of high value markets, such as the CSC Boustead Beef for cattle, goats and sheep. There is evidence that this will stimulate production along the value chain nodes,” he said.
Dr Chiwenga said the re-vamped processing plant will provide a unique feedlot and grazing model for communal farmers which will increase value of their cattle, while the model will enable communal farmers to be paid twice, at delivery of the cattle to the feedlot, and after fattening at slaughter.
“I am reliably informed that Boustead Beef CSC has already secured US $36 million for this feedlot and grazing cattle purchase scheme for communal farmers. The model should increase the cattle offtake from 6 percent to the targeted 15 percent by 2025.”
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka said Boustead Beef/ CSC has signed export contracts for the products into European, Asian and African markets.
“Such regional and global footprint is required to re-position Zimbabwe’s beef sub-sector. To achieve this, onboarding of all cattle producers is very important and this entails coming up with programmes and twinning arrangement to fully realize the potential of this plant,” he said.