Boustead Beef, the investor working on reviving Zimbabwe’s largest meat processor, Cold Storage Company (CSC), will soon start processing by-products from meat production at its Bulawayo plant, a senior official has said.
CSC’s Bulawayo plant can process up to 15 by-products from meat such as tullow and fat used by cooking oil firms as well as gluten and blood for pharmaceuticals.
Zimbabwe is currently using scarce foreign currency to import most of these raw materials at a time the country is facing challenges of inadequate hard currency for key imports needed by industry.
“When we talk of rehabilitating CSC, we are not only talking of the abattoir . . . we are doing the entire plant,” said the official.
“So we are investing in our by-products plant so that we can harvest the by-products, which unfortunately, are being imported at the moment.”
The official said Zimbabwe could save millions of US dollars being spent by local companies on importing the raw materials.
“We will soon be feeding the industry with these raw materials,” adding that significant progress had been made on reviving CSC.
“We are progressing very well . . . we are expecting a team from NSSA to come for boiler inspections.
“We are also expecting delivery of new equipment in the next few weeks,” the official said.
In embracing the Government’s thrust on value addition, Boustead is looking at diversifying its products at its leather subsidiary. The company used to produce only wet blue leather, but has since moved up the value chain and is now manufacturing products including waist belts, bags and clothing items such as jackets.
CSC had enjoyed a monopoly since 1937 when it was formed. But the Government deregulated the industry in 1992, which resulted in serious competition from private players, plunging CSC into a viability crisis following sharp decline in cattle throughput.
A year later, the company had lost 50 percent of its market share to private players.
The Government could have overlooked the implications of liberalising the industry when CSC had not been financially capacitated to stand competition from private players. Since 1992, CSC largely survived on EU exports and had a US$15 million revolving payment facility with the bloc. The facility was discontinued after the European Union suspended imports in 2001 following an outbreak and foot and mouth disease.
CSC had an annual quota of 9 100 tonnes, representing 8 percent of the export market and used to earn at least US$45 million per year from the European Union export quota.
Efforts to enter Asian markets did not succeed after some food safety standards concerns were raised.
In preparation for reopening the plant, CSC said it would come up with incentives to ensure a constant supply of cattle for communal farmers. The company also plans to construct feedlots at dip tank sites across the country where farmers can deliver their animals for a 90 day feeding scheme before slaughter.
CSC, which owns four abattoirs used to employ 1 500 permanent workers and an average 700 casual workers, making it one of the biggest employers in the country. ebusinessweekly.co.zw