BULAWAYO: Zimbabwean parastatal, Cold Storage Company (CSC) has revealed that the country is ready to do business in beef products with the world including Botswana.
CSC is an export licensed beef commission, which markets beef from Zimbabwe to other countries.
The parastatal, which is implementing a turnaround strategy, has revealed plans to do business with regional partners, including importing cattle from Botswana and exporting to regional markets in Angola and Mozambique.
CSC looks to exploit the abundant 500,000 cattle population in Ngamiland including to help Botswana harness the potential of small to medium scale leather tanning and allied industry.
In 2011, Zimbabwe signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Botswana to import 30,000 cattle from Foot and Mouth Disease-affected areas in Botswana for direct slaughter in Bulawayo.
CSC marketing director, Isaiah Machingura, when briefing stakeholders from Botswana, who were on a Zimbabwean tour funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said they were looking forward to commence buying cattle from Botswana once the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) situation improves. Machingura said CSC abattoir in Bulawayo, which was toured by the Botswana UNDP contingent, has the best technology and has the capacity to slaughter up to 1,200 animals per day. However, the company has not been able to access European markets, relying only on regional SADC markets. Machingura said that the regional demand for their products is on a rise, adding that cattle supply in Zimbabwe is a challenge.
He said that they were eyeing export markets in Angola and Mozambiqu, hence they needed to import more cattle from Botswana to meet the demand. He said currently they were struggling even to meet demand even within Zimbabwe due to supply challenges.
The Zimbabwean cattle industry has been on a decline due to low numbers of cattle for slaughter. A delegate, Galefele Maokeng from the Trust for Okavango Cultural and Development Initiatives suggested that the government of Zimbabwe could avail some of the unutilised farms in Zimbabwe for Batswana cattle farmers to rear cattle in there.
Maokeng observed that while Zimbabwe was complaining that it has cattle supply problems, there was, in fact a cattle oversupply in Botswana. Machingura, however, suggested that what Batswana farmers could do was export their cattle by trucks to Zimbabwe for slaughter.
The Zimbabwe tour was part of the Ngamiland Sustainable Land Management Programme, which is being undertaken with UNDP funding. The programme seeks to explore potential of the district’s richness in natural resources for supporting sustainable livelihoods.
Amongst the aims of the project is to promote the non-meat livestock products enterprises in Botswana as a way of benefiting the cattle sector in Ngamiland.