The dearth of Willowvale industries

Source: The dearth of Willowvale industries | Daily News

HARARE – Old rugged buildings with crumbling walls, surrounded by auburn tall dried grass, are all that remains of the once vibrant Olivine Willowvale Industries.

Dilapidated train wagons are symbolic of the unproductiveness and recession the country has faced in the last two decades.

Silos, with emblems inscribed “Olivine”, are the only testaments that verify that a vibrant industry once existed in that part of town.

At a time when Zimbabwe needs all economic sectors to be running, many industries throughout Zimbabwe have closed shop due to the economic hardships and disparities being faced in the country.

Olivine Willowvale’s production plant is now a shadow of its former self, since the shutting down of its plant due to operational inefficiencies which had resulted in high production costs.

It is a sad indictment that depicts a struggling economy in need of a messiah, as the once vibrant plant is being under-utilised for wheat processing.

“These silos are currently occupied by PHI. Graham Murdoch is the director of PHI, and they have given us some space for these rail wagons to come and offload,” said Grain Millers Association Zimbabwe chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara at the site in Willowvale.

“The wheat that is coming here is wheat for some millers who do not have what we call rail-siding; the rail that gets into premises.

“We now have rail coming from Beira to Olivine, here, we are leasing some space,” Musarara said.

Whilst the younger generation wonder what used to be, and the older generation testifies of the bread and butter Zimbabwe used to produce; the corny worn-out rusted train engines on the premises testify of production and employment that used to brew in the former bread basket’s pot.

This is the story of many industries throughout Zimbabwe, whose closure has intensified the current 95 percent unemployment rate, revealed in Parliament by Harare East Member of Parliament Tendai Biti on Tuesday.

“It is very difficult to get into a recession, a recession is characterised by absent aggregate demand; the absence of output and excess capacity – if you go to the industries, they are not being utilised.

“Excess capacity in the form of 95 percent of our people who are unemployed and so this is a grave situation that needs to be addressed,” he said.

Many industries that once crowed with production have failed to resuscitate business, whilst others that have, are struggling to remain open.

Musarara revealed that Blue Ribbon that had recently closed was to re-open on Thursday, being numbered amongst the many businesses currently shut down due to economic instability.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inaugural speech leading to the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra is the hope that many of these dilapidated industries have grasped onto.

However, this, to some extent, has been hope deferred due to Zimbabwe’s struggle to get investors swiftly on board in order to resuscitate the dying industry.