Arda acting general manager William Mbona revealed the sorry state of the ailing authority’s herd when he appeared before the portfolio committee on Agriculture on Tuesday.
“We sold most of the 36 000 cattle on our farms after some of the estates were allocated to new farmers,” said Mbona. “Transau Estates, one of our biggest ranches, was used for resettlement of people from Marange diamond fields.”
Of the 36 000 cattle, Sesembe had 16 000, Transau 12 000 and Battlefields 6 000. The rest were scattered across other estates countrywide. Mbona added that revenue realised was insignificant in monetary value since this forced destocking was carried out during the hyperinflationary Zimbabwe dollar era.
“We did not get a lot of money from either the private and auction sales of the cattle during (the) destocking exercise since we sold in the valueless Zimdollars at the height of hyperinflation,” he said.
Arda has been in the spotlight for its involvement in the controversial Green Fuels project in partnership with Billy Rautenbach in Chisumbanje, as well as the suspected looting of tractors from Iran by senior officials.
The audit into the tractors is still to be made public six years since it was instituted. Mbona told the committee that the authority could only be saved by creating partnerships with other companies to work on its vast estates.
“The way forward for Arda is smart partnerships, joint ventures and contract management with private investors. This is the only way if the shareholder (government) cannot recapitalise the authority,” Mbona said.
Arda is one of the 78 struggling state-owned enterprises which, among others, include Air Zimbabwe, NetOne, TelOne, the Cold Storage Company, Agribank and the National Railways of Zimbabwe.