Dairy plant dodges targeted measures

gushungo_holdingsHARARE - Construction of a multi-million dollar dairy produce processing plant is underway at Gushungo estates, owned by Grace Mugabe in Mazoe, to counter targeted measures imposed on President Robert Mugabe and his cronies.

Personnel and equipment from the government-owned District Development Fund (DDF), are clearing a piece of ground on a hill at the estate, in preparation for construction of the plant. Construction will then be fast-tracked and the plant is expected to manufacture products such as cheese, yoghurt, sterilised milk and other dairy products. A ban on sales of Gushungo milk at Nestl Zimbabwe prompted the first lady to construct the plant, which will process milk from the estate into various products. The products will be sold on the domestic market. When measures are eventually lifted as expected, other manufactured products will find their way onto lucrative European markets, a senior Zanu (PF) government minister revealed.

He said a Chinese-owned company was hired to speedily put up the structure.

Gushungo estates, which boasts a more than 2,000 head of dairy cattle, no longer has a viable market for its milk. The cattle were forcibly seized from white farmers who owned the estates, said a top government official. Nestl stopped buying milk from the estates in October last year. Grace Mugabe grabbed the formerly white-owned estates, through the controversial government sanctioned land reform programme. An average five calves are born daily at the estates, while at least three cattle die weekly due to poor feeding. Clients buying milk direct at the estates are complaining of poor quality fresh milk because of excessive water mixture, said the official. To dispose of the marketless milk, workers at the estates are given a daily two litre ration of milk.

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