By JEFFREY MUVUNDUSI
ALL is set for the much awaited revival of the Cold Storage Commission (CSC) Boustead Beef Zimbabwe after several years of refurbishing the country’s once biggest meat processor.
CSC had been idle for years following decades of mal-administration and subsequent choking owing to the country’s poor economic performance.
Boustead Beef Zimbabwe spokesperson Reginald Shoko said engineers who were working on the rehabilitation of the company’s main plant in Bulawayo had finished and the firm was now ready to resume operations.
“In terms of progress made here so far, we are happy to announce that we have not shifted position in terms of going live in August.
“Basically, all is set for the resumption of operations here at CSC. The suppliers of the imported equipment that we installed here have arrived and are currently assessing to find out if we have done a good job in terms of installing,” Shoko said.
Shoko, however, said their biggest challenge now was training their new recruits as most of the old workers were no longer available due to various reasons.
“For the first three months, we are most likely to be going slowly in terms of production given the fact that we are working with the original CSC workers and new recruits.
“So, the first 90 days will be dedicated to training, but we will be producing,” he said, adding that they had already set their slaughtering target.
“We are working with a target that after 90 days we will be able to slaughter about 35 percent of the national slaughter in terms of demand when we have finished training our people.
“When we are saying we want people we are not only looking at the production side, but technically we also need people to run and maintain this plant,” Shoko said.
Meanwhile, a tour of the plant revealed that at least four new compressors as well as a condenser have been fully installed and running, with the resuscitation of several other equipment and facilities, including cold rooms that had gone obsolete in years, completed.
The resuscitation of the Bulawayo plant was, according to the company management, largely delayed by the Covid-19-induced national lockdowns as the investor could not import critical spares to facilitate the rehabilitation project.
Boustead Beef (Pvt) Ltd, the United Kingdom investor, took over the defunct CSC in 2019 under a recapitalisation deal with the government and has committed to injecting a minimum of US$130 million.
Under the arrangement, Boustead Beef takes over the management of the company operations for an initial period of 25 years with a mandate to revive the strategic company’s operations across the country by refurbishing industrial assets such as ranches, feedlots and residential properties.
At its peak in the 1990s, the company, which owns four abattoirs in the country, used to employ 1 500 permanent workers and about 700 casual employees, thereby making it one of Zimbabwe’s biggest employers. It used to export beef into the European market.- Daily News