The dearth of Willowvale industries

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.

Comments (3)

Zimbabwe hayizi nyika hombe. Vamwe vanotungamirira varungu kubasa vachigadzira ndege dzinokwira vanhu 600 , varungu vachiteerera. Munhu mutema anotinetsei. Ndosaka varungu vaityira munhu kuti Chimbwito wedu uyu ?, akangogona kuverenga nekunyora chirungu zvakapfurikidza hapana zvichafamba , nyika yedu ichaparara. Ngaadzidze kugadzira chituro chakanaka chekuti kana kwini anochigara....priced @ $10K? ,ndokuti agorarama zvakanaka kusvika mururu , bhuku harivake nyika kudarika mawoko. Ko ma south africans asina dzidzo zvirikuvafambira seyi ?

Ujlee - 15 October 2018

Comparison with South Africa is not worth a grain of salt. South Africa is a ticking time bomb (soon to be like Zimbabwe or worse). The levels of illiteracy, wealth distribution, class differences and systematic poverty are much higher. Not forgetting deeper social issues like racism and crime which they continually sweep under the carpet. Real role models for Zimbabwe would be nations like Singapore with visionary leaders like Lee Kuan Yew who inspired a third world transformation into a first world nation / economy within 35 years! Zvekuti varungu chakati varungu chakati hazvina ndava izvo. Let us just be comfortable in who we are and be responsible for what God has given us - natural rescources and potential to dream big and do more.

Daniel 5 - 17 October 2018

Our biggest problem is corrupt leaders starting from the president himself. He lost the election and maneuvered his way to the top job in a shady manner. Therefore this government is not trusted even by its own citizens and then how do you expect foreigners to trust it. THIS HABIT OF AN IMPOSED LEADERSHIP MUST STOP IF THIS COUNTRY IS TO MOVE FORWARD.

danho - 22 October 2018

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