Padenga, which specialises in crocodile skins and meat, said its annual egg collection and incubation exercise yielded 50 163 hatchings. The total grower stock now stands at 159 761 reptiles.
In a statement attached to its interim financial results to December 31 2011, the company said it increased its breeding stock by 5 034 in pens at farms mainly in Kariba as the company moves to self-sufficiency in producing eggs.
“The operation is moving steadily towards self-sufficiency in egg production, with 69% of the eggs produced in 2011 being obtained from the domestic breeders,” said the company.
It operates three farms on the shores of Lake Kariba and produces premium quality skins and meat for export to Europe and Asia. Padenga is one of the biggest Nile crocodile farming operations in the world and controls about 33% of world supply to three tanneries.
Because of the seasonal nature of Padenga’s operations, the first half of its financial year is usually a cost accumulation period, with turnover only expected in the second half when culling commences.
Revenue for the period under review was only US$7 235 since there was no culling as compared to the full year to June 2011 total of US$19,7 million. The company recorded an operating loss of US$4,3 million.
The company benefited from the exchange rate movements since the rand depreciated by 21% against the dollar in the period under review. This positively impacted on the input costs since the company imports most of its feeds from South Africa and Namibia.
Management is focusing on reducing stocking densities and are currently improving the feeding strategies where they have increased their rearing and breeding space, with a total of nine breeder pens and four rearing pens completed at Ume Crocodile Farm. A further two pens and six breeder pens are under construction at Nyanyana farm.
Due to the forecasted strong demand and an anticipated capacity increase by two of the company’s premier customers, the price of skins are expected to be firm during the financial year.
Padenga is currently making progress in respect of diversifying into the production of other crocodile species.