Zim govt cranks up CSC revival

Zim govt cranks up CSC revival
Published: 26 July 2017
AFTER years of going back and forth on Cold Storage Company (CSC)'s revival, government believes it has finally found that missing link which could do the trick - Command Livestock.

Command Livestock is a by-product of the much-hyped Command Agriculture, rolled out last year to ensure food security for the country.

This was after successive droughts had combined with the negative effects of a chaotic land reform of 2000 to reduce Zimbabwe, an agro-based economy, from being a bread basket for the southern region, to a basket case.

In the first year of its implementation, officials claim that Command Agriculture achieved a bumper harvest, with President Robert Mugabe suggesting last week that his officials should consider exporting the surplus maize harvest.

Critics are, however, casting aspersions on these claims because the 2016/17 summer cropping season received good rains, unlike the previous seasons.

This resulted in farmers that were not contracted under Command Agriculture achieving a better harvest that also contributed to the overall output.

Riding on its achievements under Command Agriculture, government is upbeat about reviving CSC through the livestock version of the initiative that borrows heavily from the collapsed Soviet Union's planned economy of the mid 20th century.

Once the largest meat processor in Africa, CSC used to handle up to 150 000 tonnes of beef and associated by-products a year, exporting beef to the European Union, where it had an annual quota of 9 100 tonnes.

In its heyday, it used to earn Zimbabwe at least $45 million annually.

CSC is currently saddled with a debt of over $25 million, mainly from fixed costs such as wages, rates and taxes on land.

It owes its 413 employees $3, 5 million in salary arrears.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development minister, Joseph Made, is confident that the implementation of Command Livestock might come as a boost to the ailing Bulawayo headquartered parastatal.

He said the revival of the ailing meat processor would benefit Bulawayo and its hinterland, which are prolific in cattle breeding.

"Bulawayo, as a metropolitan province, means the southern part of the country along with the rural provinces that are Matabeleland South and North, including some parts of Midlands, is going to benefit from the livestock sector in its broadest terms," he said.

"We know that if CSC is resuscitated, it will create many jobs for our people here. I want to emphasise that the revival of CSC is going to be intensified in terms of the government support as well as the partnerships that we are going to form," he added, without giving timelines.

Made was addressing Zanu-PF supporters at Davies Hall last weekend.

Last year, CSC received a major boost after pay-as-you-go pension scheme, the National Social Security Authority (Nssa), announced that it will inject $18 million of pensioners' money into the parastatal to pull it back from the brink of collapse.

Pursuant to the announcement, Made has since constituted a new board for CSC to drive its revival.

The board is chaired by Sylvia Khumalo-Jiyane, who is deputised by Nemrod Chiminya.

To complete the cast up are board members Emily Mumbengegwi; Anxious Masuka; Rufaro Mazunze; Khodholo Setaboli; the chief executive officer of CSC, Ngoni Chinogaramombe; Peter Nyoni; Cecilia Paradza; Bhekhithemba Nkomo and two ministry of Agriculture representatives, Unesu Ushewokunze-Obatolu and Reston Muzamhindo.

The CSC board has, however, set tongues wagging following revelations that a quarter of the appointees were related, in one way or the other, to bigwigs in Mugabe's Cabinet.

This week, Made said government will use CSC's revival to also empower women and the youths, who form the majority of the country's population.

"It will benefit mainly the women and youths…even adults will benefit because there are different classes of livestock that we are going to deal with.

"We are going to be dealing with large livestock, which means dairy and beef in the peri-urban areas where we have got land. The second aspect of the livestock is going to be the small stock, which includes any class of small livestock of your choice," he said.
- dailynews
Tags: CSC,


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