CSC has no monopoly on beef exports: Made
AGRICULTURE, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made says the Cold Storage Company (CSC) has no monopoly to export meat products as any qualified person can do so.
Once a major exporter of beef and other meat products to lucrative overseas markets, the CSC has been struggling to operate efficiently over the years citing lack of recapitalisation in the face of stiff competition from individual abattoirs. The giant parastatal is saddled with debts amounting to millions of dollars and has been on a loss making trajectory for the past decade.
Stakeholders in different sectors of the economy have called on the Government to expedite the revival of the Bulawayo-headquartered firm, which the ministry says would be done by the end of December this year.
Responding to questions on the state of affairs of the CSC during a discussion in Parliament on Wednesday, Dr Made said: “First of all, I want to indicate that certainly the CSC is under a programme as enunciated in His Excellency’s Speech, in terms of the turnaround strategy.
“However, to be very specific anyone who has a market to export is not denied that opportunity. Anyone who has an opportunity to export can apply to export meat products just like any other commodity in terms of the agriculture sector.”
The CSC board and management have indicated that the turnaround strategy of the company includes among others internal funds mobilisation through the disposal of idle assets.
The CSC faces severe competition from private abattoirs following the liberalisation of the beef and livestock sector in 1992. Once the country’s biggest meat processor and marketer, the CSC was also one of the largest employers and if resuscitated that would be one of the biggest achievements of Zim-Asset. The firm requires about $83 million to revive operations and operate profitably. The company’s assets have an estimated value of $4,5 million.
The turnaround proposal was made to Government four years ago but had not been approved pending a forensic audit whose results are yet to be released.
It is estimated that there are over 600 registered and unregistered abattoirs and slaughter houses in Zimbabwe.
Before the liberalisation, the CSC dominated about 50 percent of the market share and by 2002 the figure had declined to six percent particularly after the suspension of beef exports to the European Union. — @okazunga.