Source: Processors spend $4,6 million on deboned meat | The Financial Gazette May 24, 2018
MEAT processors imported 5 800 tonnes of mechanically deboned meat valued at $4,6 million between January and November 2017.
Mechanically deboned meat (MDM), the main ingredient in processed meats and sausages, is generally the lowest priced low grade products or bi-products from boneless cuts of more expensive meat.
“Cumulative imports of MDM for the 11 months to November 2017 were 5 877 tonnes, a decline of 25 percent over the same period in 2016,” The Livestock and Meat Advisory Council (LMAC)’s April 2018 Livestock Update Report said.
In 2016, 7 358 tonnes were imported at an average price of $484 per tonne.
The importation of MDM has been disrupted by a number of issues, including the meat scandal in Brazil that led to a temporary ban on its imports and the outbreak of Avian Influenza in South Africa that curtailed the importation of poultry related products from, and through, that country.
“The acute shortage of nostro allocations has also exacerbated the situation,” the LMAC report said.
At least 77 percent of the MDM was sourced from South Africa.
“As South Africa manufactures no MDM, bulk orders from major suppliers in countries like Brazil and Argentina are made and then sold onwards to Zimbabwean importers,” the report added.
Imports from Namibia make up 22 percent and one percent is directly imported from Brazil and the United Arab Emirates.
The cost of MDM averaged $783 per tonne between January and November 2017, an increase of 63 percent over the same period in 2016.
“The rise in cost is due to a number of factors, including supply constraints from traditional markets including Brazil and Argentina. The duty of 40 percent on imports continues to put upward pressure on cost, notwithstanding the fact that MDM is categorised as a raw material.
“Imports from Namibia averaged the highest cost at $872 per tonne, while direct imports from Brazil were the cheapest at $568 per tonne. Imports from South Africa were $763 per tonne,” the report said.
A 40 percent import duty makes locally produced processed meat products non-competitive relative to regional products. The local meat processing industry has been developed around the importation of three ingredients ― MDM, casings and seasoning. This created a market for locally produced beef and pork trimmings, chicken skins, vegetable proteins, herbs and spices.
Processed meat was one of the country’s biggest foreign currency earners before the closure of the Cold Storage Company. A single firm, Super Canners of Bulawayo, was responsible for over 70 percent of total Zimbabwean exports of processed meat to the European Union and for all corned beef exports.
In terms of imports, South Africa has maintained the top position, with March 2018 imports from South Africa rising to $271,6 million from 202,7 million during the same period last year. Imports from Singapore also rose sharply from $97,4 million last year to $137,6 million this year.