HARARE – Lunar Farm (Lunar) — a poultry project owned by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono — yesterday lost $50 000 worth of equipment after a mysterious fire.
Although an internal and Harare City Council fire department team quickly put out the blaze, Velenjani Lupankwa, chief operating officer of TD Holdings Limited — Lunar Chickens’ holding company — said the fire had partly affected the grandparent side of the chicken-rearing facility.
“What got burnt is mainly the grazing fields and some of the equipment at the grandparents (chicken) site,” he said, adding “we are still investigating as we don’t know what caused it”.
He said the fire, which started around 3pm, could have caused more damage if the company had not reacted quickly.
“The reaction was quick, fire brigade came after we had used our internal fire tenders,” Lupankwa said.
He said it was even more worrying that the fire had burnt out part of Lunar’s key facility at a time there are some European auditors for their Hubbard F15 day-old chicks rearing plant. Lupankwa said the affected area was the heart of Lunar Chickens as it was where the chicks were bred.
“This is our breeding site, we have 4 000 grandparents, a $2 million site, 10 million chicks are supposed to come from here, so this is the core of our business,” he said.
This also comes as another mysterious blaze broke out at his plush Borrowdale estate in August 2011 and partly destroyed his warehouse, gutting over $100 000 worth of equipment.
The development comes as Gono is under attack from political opponents, and just after security guards assigned for years to protect him were abruptly withdrawn last month.
Gono yesterday said: “I have no comment to make other than that by 2020, I will be the biggest chicken and egg producer on the continent and nothing will stop or deter me from that course, accidental or non- accidental fire.
“Out of these ashes will emerge the first chicken billionaire on the African continent.”