MINISTER of State for Matabeleland South, Abednico Ncube has appealed to the government to rehabilitate and re-open ZimCam, a once thriving beef canning factory in the province.
Ncube said the West Nicholson based company must also resume export of beef products.
ZimCam was once regarded as one of the biggest meat canning factories in Africa while over a thousand workers were employed and hundreds of cattle slaughtered each day.
Speaking at the 58th edition of the Matabeleland South Agricultural Show in Gwanda last Saturday, Ncube said the government would do the cattle province a favour by assisting to re-open Zimcam.
“ZimCam had a capacity to slaughter between 500 to 600 beasts for export and local consumption,” he said.
The minister of state said at least $3 million was needed to rehabilitate the company.
In response, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, who was the guest of honour, acknowledged the need to reopen the factory.
VP Mphoko said he had toured the factory with Ncube a week earlier and expressed optimism that government will assist in the reopening of the company.
“It required a region of $3 million to start work there. We will make sure we look into that,” Mphoko promised.
The vice president also challenged the people of Matabeleland South to take control of their own resources to create wealth and employment instead of looking to neighbouring countries for economic opportunities.
It is reported ZimCam started deteriorating after the 1992 drought when large numbers of cattle in the Matabeleland South were wiped out.
Over the years. livestock population in Matabeleland South has been on a steep decline owing to the foot and mouth disease coupled by recurrent droughts.
Although there was a 100 percent uptake of stands at the 2015 Matabeleland South Agricultural Show, there was a decrease in livestock display due to the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak.
This year, only 31 cattle were displayed in the cattle pens.
The agricultural show which ran under the theme: “Innovations that Promote Value Addition and Beneficiation” saw exhibitors who excelled in various categories walking away with certificates and various prizes.