At its peak, CSC boasted an annual export quota of 9 100 tonnes of beef to the EU market earning the country about US$45 million a year.
Officials at the parastatal said this week planned exports to regional markets could resume in the next few weeks.
“Preliminary scouting of markets in the region reveal that Mozambique, Angola and the DRC are areas which could be worthwhile to explore,” the company said.
Initial exports are set at 50 tonnes of beef to the three markets. After a two-month trial run, CSC would make a firm commitment to supply the markets on a regular basis.
CSC’s role in the local beef industry marginally picked up last year as a result of close to 45 000 Botswana cattle slaughtered at the company’s Bulawayo premises after the governments signed a memorandum of understanding allowing for the importation of cattle for immediate slaughter to curtail the spread of foot-and-mouth disease, particularly along the border between the two countries.
CSC used to operate southern Africa’s biggest slaughter plants but ran into problems in the mid-1990s when its market share significantly plummeted after the government ended its monopoly.
From 1988 to 1996, CSC’s market-share declined to 45% from 88% before almost completely surrendering the market to private players.
Controversial agrarian reforms pursued by the government in 2000 also plunged it into further decline after hundreds of productive white-owned commercial farms, which provided more than 70% of beasts for slaughter, were expropriated by the government for resettlement.
Although the company is now set for commercialisation, the government has never entertained the notion of loosening its grip on the poorly-performing parastatal by bringing in technical and equity partners to inject fresh capital into the business. –– Staff Writer.