AFTER taking over vast tracts of land formerly belonging to the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority, the Chinese have now set their sights on the country’s beef industry.
The Chinese, who already own abattoirs in the country, are interested in the Cold Storage Company Ltd (CSC).
In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent this week, Patience Madambi, the public relations officer of the CSC, revealed that the Chinese were interested in the struggling parastatal.
“The Chinese are interested in our beef industry. The Koreans are also interested,” Madambi said.
She said the Chinese had already paid visits to CSC facilities.
Madambi said the Chinese were meeting CSC marketing director Isaiah Machingura. However, she declined to disclose details of the meeting.
“You will have to talk to him about that.”
Madambi said there were notable improvements at the CSC.
She said the company had introduced feeding and breeding schemes under which 264 farmers feed cattle for 120 days before slaughter and breeding cows for restocking respectively.
“The farmers are performing very well,” she said.
She said the CSC was currently operating seven farms with a capacity for a 25 000 head of cattle each. Madambi however did not provide details on the size of the CSC herd on the farms.
She said the CSC was exporting canned products only and was planning to resume exports to the EU by December next year.
The CSC has not been meeting its beef quota to the EU for the past five years after exports were suspended due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.
Zimbabwe had an annual beef quota of 9 100 tonnes to the EU, generating more than US$38 million.
Last year the government rescued the CSC by injecting $10 billion to settle its outstanding debts that had ballooned to over $12 billion and finance its restocking schemes.
Institutions that were owed by the CSC include Kingdom Bank, the defunct Time Bank, the Jewel Bank, Trust Bank which is now part of ZABG and Genesis Investment Bank.