Tongaat Hullet mulls diversification to beef production

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PATRICK CHITONGO in Hippo Valley

HIPPO VALLEY, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWE’S sole sugar producing company, Tongaat Hullet, plans to venture into beef production as it diversifies its business.

The move is set to culminate in the revival of the Cold Storage Commission (CSC), a government business that stopped production a decade ago after a shortage of cattle and grazing pastures.

Thomas Dheka, Tongaat Hullets’ Director for Enterprises and Community Development, told delegates at a business meeting the company was involved in talks with the government to facilitate the acquisition of land under the Tokwe-Mukosi irrigation project.

Speaking at the meeting organised by the Lowveld Indigenous Business Association held at Hippo Valley Country Club, Dheka confirmed the talks had been initiated with Minister of State for the Masvingo Province, Ezra Chadzamira, and CSC.

Chadzamira was a special guest at the meeting.

Dheka said the company, with revenues in excess of $75 million, was in good stead to finance irrigatable pastures. He pledged the company would use modern ranching skills that would enable a high concentration of cattle on a small piece of land.

“Minister (Chadzamira), you will be pleased to note that apart from the core business of growing and manufacturing sugar, Tongaat has very serious interests in the beef industry and would like to take opportunities coming in with the Tokwe-Mukosi project,” Dheka said.

The executive said they would be able to achieve the target of 25 000 slaughter cattle per year by partnering with local farmers in Boli, Chikombedzi and Chibwedziwa and other areas as outgrowers.

Chadzamira applauded Tongaat’s gesture to venture into beef production as well as creating investment opportunities for locals.

“As the Minister here, I cannot just fold my hands and fail to assist ambitious entrepreneurs like Tongaat,” the minister said.

Dheka meanwhile challenged local business people to take investment opportunities opening up as the company sells some of its properties like shops and other buildings outside its core business.

Tongaat also owns medical, educational and eco-tourism facilities.

“These are investment opportunities that business people here must take,”
Dheka said.

– CAJ News