THE Cold Storage Company (CSC) says it plans to tap into the Angolan beef market as it plots ways to escape from crippling financial problems.
CSC’s marketing director Isiah Machingura told Southern Eye Business on Friday that consultations with buyers from the oil-rich country were already at an advanced stage.
“Angolan delegates came to the CSC and reviewed our facilities and what is left now is the finalisation of the bilateral trade agreement between Zimbabwe and Angola as well as capital,” he said.
“Once these have been sorted out, very soon we would be exporting our beef to Angola.”
Machingura was speaking on the sidelines of a ZimTrade breakfast meeting in Bulawayo where the export promotion body released findings of a study of the Angolan export market.
He said CSC was confident a trade agreement between Angola and Zimbabwe would open up markets for local ranchers.
Mike Nyamazana of Africa Corporate Advisors who conducted the Angolan market research on behalf of ZimTrade said the Southern African country had a ready market for beef products.
“There is also a market for meat and processed products in Angola,” he said.
“The requirement is for quality certification especially for CSC and others.
“CSC could use this as basis for its revival and that could be an opportunity for Colcom.”
CSC, a Bulawayo-based parastatal meat processor has been struggling to stay afloat due to huge debts that includes $2,1 million owed to workers in salary arrears.
The company’s management was ordered by the government to come up with an urgent plan to revive fortunes, as part of efforts to boost exports and revive the ailing agricultural sector.
CSC, which has a workforce of less than 600 compared to 1 500 in 1999, is operating at 7% capacity utilisation.
Its fortunes took a serious knock when the European Union (EU) suspended beef imports from the country in 2001 following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).
CSC had an annual quota to the EU of 9 100 tonnes of beef exports and had a $15 million revolving payment facility with the 27-member bloc under which it was paid in advance.
The company used to earn the country at least $45 million annually.
Some of the recent efforts undertaken to revive CSC include a deal with the Botswana Meat Corporation (BMC) where Zimbabwe imports cattle for slaughter from the neighbouring country’s FMD zones.
However, the company has been struggling to pay for the livestock forcing the BMC to halt the delivery of cattle for slaughter.