Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The construction of a new plant and animal quarantine facility, which is set to decongest the Beitbridge Border Post and enhance Zimbabwe’s capacity to control exports and imports of related products, is now nearing completion.
The facility is located some 5km north of the Beitbridge Border Post.
It is one of the key projects that the Government, in partnership with the Zimborders Consortium, is constructing under the US$300 million Beitbridge Border modernisation initiative.
Prior to the latest development, related services were being offered within the border area albeit under limited space. In addition, there were laboratories to carry out all the necessary analyses on the spot.
The border modernisation project is being in a 17 and half-years’ concession, which will see the consortium managing the facility for that period and recovering its investment from toll fees, after which the facilities would be handed over to the Government.
Some off-port works include the construction of 220 staff houses, a fire station, a 14,5 mega litre water reservoir, sewer oxidation dam and road upgrade. The bulk of these projects are at various stages of construction.
Zimborders technical coordinator, Engineer Stephen Rupiya said new plant and animal quarantine facility was being carried out concurrently with the on-port works.
“Within this facility, we have various laboratories with a special focus on animal health, general hazards, and farming-related equipment that will be examined for conformity with imports and exports regulations,” said Eng Rupiya.
“Some of the laboratories will be managed by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), Veterinary Services, Agriculture Plant, and the National Biotech Laboratory.
“This will help decongest the border since this department will be based here full time to attend to issues as and when they arise.” Eng Rupiya said they were on course to complete the port works by the end of April next year.
A new fire station, sewer oxidation dam and water reservoir, have been completed while remarkable progress has been made on the housing section.
Beitbridge’s health and plant inspector-in-charge, Mr Levy Gama, said the new plant and animal quarantine facility, will improve efficiency considering that all laboratory analyses would be done on the spot.
Previously, they would send samples to other urban areas, especially in Harare which was time-consuming.
“This is a welcome development which will enhance the ease of doing business,” said Mr Gama.
“The facility has labs and incinerators for us to do the laboratory analysis and to destroy rejected products. In addition, this is good for citrus and horticulture farmers since we will be able to do all the necessary checks for exports and imported raw material closer to them,” said Mr Gama.
A customs clearing agent, Mr Itayi Misihayirabwi, said the availability of an animal and plant quarantine one-stop-shop was a relief for them as it would help resolve most queries arising between importers or exporters and authorities, on standing rules and regulations.
Ms Evelyn Jegede said the new facility would cut costs for many transporters who convey animal and agriculture-related products.
She said previously these would spend more time within the border or Beitbridge awaiting laboratory results on their products requiring imports or export permits and inspections.
The new order, she said, had brought critical services that affect regional and international trade closer to the people.