21 November 2012

Zimbabwe: CFI to Raise Chicken Output

CFI Holdings has commissioned some environmentally-controlled broiler houses at its Glenara Estates, which will see its breeding capacity increasing by 35 percent.

Through its division -- Crest Poultry Group -- the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed conglomerate invested US$2,6 million into the project from loans it got from the PTA Bank, the Government's

Distressed and Marginalised Areas Fund and Afreximbank.

"We can now breed about 620 000 broilers at any given time from about 460 000 birds we were keeping before installation of these facilities," CPG managing director Dr Tapera Mpezeni said in an interview on the sidelines of a tour of the new facility meant to appraise the financiers on the project yesterday.

The birds are slaughtered after six weeks.

The old housing facilities are open-sided with capacity of about 460 000 birds. Studies have shown that mortality rates in conventional houses were higher than those in controlled houses. On average, mortality rates in open-sided housing average between eight and 10 percent against between 2 percent and 3 percent in for computerised environmentally-controlled housing.

At the new breeding capacity levels, Dr Mpezeni said the company was now in a better position to stand competition from imports, particularly from Brazil.

CFI consultant Mr Don McDevitt said the group intended to build more houses at an estimated cost of US$5 million. He added that plans were also in place to build an abattoir at the estates to achieve an integrated poultry facility.

"We need about US$5 million to triple the (breeding) capacity (of the new facility) and to build an abattoir so that we create a centre of poultry," said Mr McDevitt.

PTA Bank portfolio management officer Mr Thomas Ratemo said the regional bank was prepared to bankroll the company's future expansion projects.

"In terms of your expansion projects, we are a big bank and the resources are there (even) the resource to expand this estate beyond poultry. The potential is there," he said."

CFI is involved in poultry, milling of stockfeeds, maize and flour, manufacture and distribution of agri-chemicals, farming and retail. Early this year, the company embarked on a massive expansion programme to improve capacity and efficiency.

The expansion programme consisted of the installation of computerised environmentally-controlled houses and the refurbishment of Victoria Foods. About US$1,6 million was spent on Victoria Foods, chief executive Mr Steve Kuipa said.

The company got lines of credit of about US$3,8 million to fund expansion projects.

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