City secures US$600 000 loan

cash-mexico-460a_981057cMunicipal Reporter
Harare City Council’s business committee has approved a request to borrow US$600 000 as seed capital to commence commercialisation of its farms under the Sunshine Meats Project. Chamber secretary Mrs Josephine Ncube told councillors that the city applied for US$3 million from a local financial institution, but was offered US$600 000.

“The chamber secretary reported that the project was centred on cattle herds at Pension, Ingwe and Crowborough farms which had a current herd of approximately 5 000,” read minutes of a recent business committee meeting.

“Pension Farm had been selected as suitable for installation of fattening project infrastructure, while Crowborough and Ingwe farms were for breeding farms.”

Council intends to focus on fattening 700 cattle from the existing herd, and the breeding herd would be built up steadily within three years until it reaches the full potential of 11 000.

Mrs Ncube said the business would need to buy additional cattle to support the fattening scheme. The major cost driver will be stockfeeds, which council intended to produce on its own by growing maize, soyabeans and lucerne grass.

“When the stockfeed production is firmly established, the business will venture into other meat projects such as piggery, poultry and rabbit keeping,” read the minutes

“The vision ends by establishing a meat processing plant. The funding would transform the infrastructure into a full commercial entity covering the pumping of effluent from the sewerage works, rehabilitation of irrigation canals and dipping facilities, the procurement of farm equipment such as tractors, trucks, motorbikes and hay balers.”

The business committee appreciated the idea of rehabilitating the city’s farms and while accepting the loan, the members expressed the need for council to look for partners with a view to starting a profit-share business.

They were also concerned by the mismanagement of farms and urged council to tighten its systems to this end.
Council has five farms – Crowborough (1 204 hectares), Pension (800 hectares), Churu (264 hectares), Ingwe (1 400 hectares) and Porta (100 hectares).

Crowborough, Pension and Ingwe farms have some cattle, while Churu and Porta are lying idle.

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