UK mar­ket craves for Zim beef: CSC

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Oliver Kazunga

THE UK is crav­ing for Zim­bab­wean beef prod­ucts and has en­gaged the Cold Stor­age Com­pany (CSC) to re­sume ex­ports to the lu­cra­tive mar­ket, an of­fi­cial has said.

The coun­try’s largest beef pro­ces­sor and mar­keter, CSC, used to have an an­nual quota of beef ex­ports to the Euro­pean Union of 9 100 tonnes and it last ex­ported beef in 2007. The paras­tatal fell on hard times from 2000 ow­ing to a myr­iad of chal­lenges, among them, in­ad­e­quate work­ing cap­i­tal, cat­tle dis­eases, de­cline in the com­mer­cial herd, huge for­eign debt, high staff turnover and an old trans­port fleet.

Its prob­lems wors­ened at the height of sanc­tions that were im­posed on the coun­try by the EU.

Speaking at a break­fast meet­ing on spe­cial eco­nomic zones in Bu­l­awayo on Wed­nes­day, CSC mar­ket­ing direc­tor Mr Isa­iah Machin­gura said the UK has opened up big mar­kets for beef prod­ucts and that the Euro­pean mar­ket was crav­ing for beef from the coun­try be­cause of its high qual­ity.

“The UK has opened up big mar­kets, right now we (CSC) talk to them al­most ev­ery week and they are say­ing Bu­l­awayo, CSC, Zim­babwe where are you and this is be­cause our canned product is also one of the best and they are ac­tu­ally ea­ger to im­port our canned product,” said Mr Machin­gura.

“Beef in Zim­babwe is one of the best in the world. The only beef, which we can fall sec­ond to is the Scotch beef com­ing from Aberdeen An­gus in Scot­land. So just imag­ine Zim­babwe the sec­ond and that Scot­land only pro­duces just a hand­ful, there is noth­ing much there. So, they are cry­ing for Zim­babwe beef.”

When oper­at­ing at full throt­tle, Mr Machin­gura said CSC Bu­l­awayo has the ca­pac­ity to slaugh­ter more than 700 an­i­mals a day and do the debon­ing and pack­ag­ing be­fore ex­port­ing. Gov­ern­ment has an­nounced that it was scout­ing for fresh investors to re­vive op­er­a­tions at CSC. The ail­ing paras­tatal was among the 12 State en­ter­prises that the Gov­ern­ment has an­nounced their re­form ini­tia­tive were at var­i­ous stages of im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Swiss and Bri­tish investors have shown keen in­ter­est for joint ven­ture part­ner­ships with CSC. Last year, the State-run pen­sion fund, the Na­tional So­cial Se­cu­rity Au­thor­ity an­nounced its in­tent to in­vest $18 mil­lion into the ail­ing CSC. The deal ap­pears to have fallen by the way­side. The trans­ac­tion was ex­pected to see the au­thor­ity ac­quir­ing 80 per­cent stake in the paras­tatal, Gov­ern­ment re­tain­ing 20 per­cent.

But Lands, Agri­cul­ture and Ir­ri­ga­tion De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Per­rance Shiri is on record say­ing ac­quir­ing for­eign investors would al­low CSC to in­vest in other ar­eas and grow Zim­babwe’s econ­omy at large.

Mr Machin­gura said his or­gan­i­sa­tion was a strate­gic en­tity through which all play­ers across the agro-in­dus­try value chain in Zim­babwe can also ben­e­fit from the com­pany’s op­er­a­tions.

“Through CSC op­er­a­tions we also have space for the farm­ers around which they ben­e­fit as we sup­port them and make sure we cre­ate wealth and gen­er­ate fresh money into the econ­omy.

“That fresh money comes like the old days when we used to ex­port we used to gen­er­ate a min­i­mum of 50 mil­lion Bri­tish pounds a year that is on beef ex­clud­ing by-prod­ucts, can­ning and wet-blue tan­nery,” he said.

Mr Machin­gura said CSC was also look­ing for a strate­gic part­ner­ship to re­sus­ci­tate its tan­nery.

“When it comes to the tan­nery, as CSC we are spe­cialised up to wet blue stage. And we are say­ing the space is there, those who are ac­tu­ally spe­cial­is­ing in fin­ish­ing, come let’s do busi­ness together. We just need investors to turn on the key and then we run,” he said.

At its cli­max, CSC used to han­dle up to 150 000 tonnes of beef and as­so­ci­ated by-prod­ucts an­nu­ally and ex­ported to the EU. The en­tity had for the past 10 years been mak­ing $6 mil­lion loss an­nu­ally. Presently, CSC is ham­strung by a debt over­hang of more than $25 mil­lion mainly as a re­sult of fixed costs such as wages, rates and taxes on land and it is in dis­pute with its cred­i­tors, in­clud­ing 413 for­mer work­ers, who are owed about $4 mil­lion in salary ar­rears. — @okazunga

Mr Nkosana Mnkandla raises a point dur­ing a Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zones break­fast meet­ing at a Bu­l­awayo ho­tel on Wed­nes­day

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.