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Hammarsdale chicken plant production increases after major overhaul

Home Agriculture Hammarsdale chicken plant production increases after major overhaul

A PROMINENT player in South Africa’s poultry processing and marketing landscape, Rainbow, restarted the second operational shift at its Hammarsdale P2 processing plant on August 28. A move which the company said signified a strategic leap forward.

“At the heart of this achievement lies the essence of the Poultry Sector Master Plan – a visionary blueprint encompassing facets such as investments, employment generation, poultry exports, and the cultivation of contract growers. This achievement stands as a testament to Rainbow’s commitment to fostering expansion and catalysing growth within the poultry industry,” the company said.

An event commemorating the company’s 60th anniversary and increased production, brought key stakeholders together, including prominent politicians whose presence pointed to the pivotal role the company plays in the sector. These included the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, KZN Agriculture and Rural Development MEC, Super Zuma and eThekwini Mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda, who expressed support for the local poultry industry.

Other guests included representatives from Rainbow’s parent company, RCL Foods’ majority shareholder, Remgro, Pieter Louw and Mangaka Meso and SAPA GM, Izaak Breitenbach, along with contract growers and farmers. Approximately 230 Rainbow employees joined in the celebration, displaying the company’s team spirit, inclusive ethos, and resolute pursuit of success.

Strategic expansion

Rainbow’s strategic expansion of the P2 processing plant marked an investment of R220 million, further bolstered by an additional R400 million from contract growers. “This comprehensive initiative encompasses an intricate overhaul of the entire supply and production chain within the KwaZulu-Natal region, spanning from farms, hatchery operations to processing facilities. Key project components include the construction of 120 incremental new broiler houses, enhancements to the hatchery, the installation of air-cooling systems and equipment at the processing facility, and the construction of state-of-the-art gyro-type and box freezers,” Rainbow said.

In 2017 when Rainbow removed one shift at Hammarsdale P2 as a result of dumping, around 1,350 employees were retrenched. With the Rainbow Hammarsdale expansion, Rainbow has re-instated nearly 750 jobs, with an additional 100 jobs to be initiated by June 2024.

Managing director of Rainbow Chicken, Marthinus Stander, emphasised the significance of the Poultry Master Plan, stating, “The Poultry Master Plan is a visionary blueprint and is about creating capacity, stimulating demand for chicken, growing exports, transformation and bringing in farmers and other players that were previously excluded”. Stander also spoke about Rainbow’s commitment to the Poultry Master Plan and how it goes beyond corporate objectives; given it embodies a vision that aligns with government support to elevate the poultry industry. This plan reflects Rainbow’s dedication to community empowerment, job creation, and contributing to South Africa’s holistic growth. In addition, Stander spoke about Rainbow’s dynamic partnership with the Do More Foundation – providing over 18.5 million meals per year – and how it underscores Rainbow’s commitment to social impact and community betterment.

In Minister Patel’s keynote address, he elaborated on and confirmed his commitment to, the Poultry Master Plan, and the vital importance of a sustainable local economy and GDP growth. Patel shared his support and congratulations to Rainbow for its efforts, stating that Rainbow showcases “optimism of spirit”. Minister Didiza, originally from Hammarsdale, delivered an inspiring speech confirming the need to generate funding for the establishment of contract growers and infrastructure at large. Recognising Rainbow’s tenacious turnaround, she said, “Tough times never last, but tough people do”.

In celebration of its 60th anniversary, Rainbow KZN director Mooketsi Ncube unveiled a chicken statue beautifully crafted by a local artisan. “Rainbow’s alignment with the Poultry Master Plan reaffirms its role as a driving force within the poultry industry, with an unwavering commitment to progress, growth, and community development.”

About Rainbow

Rainbow is afully integrated broiler producer in the poultry industry. With over 60 years of experience, Rainbow’s commitment to delivering fresh, frozen, and superior-quality chicken permeates every aspect of its operations. Powered by Epol, its trusted animal feed brand, Rainbow places the wellbeing of its birds at the forefront. The company operates a network of over 100 farms and strategically located processing plants.

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