In2Food Group on Friday officially launched its new R400-million, 22 708 m2 factory, located on 3.5 ha of land on the northern precinct of the OR Tambo International Airport Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
In2Foods CEO Richard Cooper said this was one of the most diverse agroprocessing factories in the world.
The new plant has been designed to the specifications of Woolworths, which will be occupying the facility for part of its agroprocessing and storage needs. The facility will supply Woolworths stores in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
In2Foods will also be exporting the company’s products to other countries.
Woolworths expects to be fully operational by the end of May, following the transfer of equipment and machinery from its previous facility in Boksburg, with an emphasis on minimal downtime and loss of production during the move. Cooper acclaimed that the new facility was three times the size of the old site in Boksburg.
The facility is expected to create 600 jobs over two years.
Further, Woolworths South Africa CEO Zyda Rylands indicated that it would further create jobs in the entire value chain of the agroprocessing industry and is expected to sustain 5 000 jobs throughout the value chain.
Moreover, Cooper noted that it would allow the company to retain its workforce and skill set.
Speaking at the launch, Gauteng Premier David Makhura enthused that the project was aligned to the identification of agroprocessing as a key economic development priority for Gauteng and South Africa.
This would result in more exports to the rest of Africa, he elaborated.
OR Tambo International SEZ: Gauteng Industrial Development Zone (GIDZ) CEO Seipati Mangadi said the facility is located in the centre of the continent’s transport and logistics hubs.
Gauteng was awarded a permit to develop the GIDZ in the SEZ at OR Tambo International Airport in 2010.
OR Tambo’s air freight is the largest on the continent boasting the capacity to handle 400 000 t/y of cargo.
Cooper said the facility, along with In2Food’s plans to open three more factories in the country this year, showcases the company's commitment to the country. “We believe in the country, and we want to be part of the change.”
Cooper added that the company has experienced considerable growth, with turnover of R5-billion expected this year, and this development was expected to further this growth going forward.
Mangadi noted that this project is just the beginning for the SEZ, with another seven buildings earmarked for completion between 2020 and 2021 and set to house diamond and jewellery manufacturing facilities.