CSC has no monopoly on beef ex­ports: Made

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Oliver Kazunga

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.

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