MASVINGO The Zimbabwe-Botswana cattle import deal appears to have failed to benefit the Masvingo branch of the Cold Storage Company (CSC), whose fortunes remain subdued, with no slaughter taking place.
In July last year, the government signed a memorandum of understanding with Botswana, allowing for the importation of cattle for immediate slaughter to curtail the risk of foot-and-mouth disease spreading as Botswana has high incidence of the disease, particularly in areas along the border with Zimbabwe.
The move was meant to make available cheap beef and push prices down, but such has not been the case in Masvingo, where beef is scarce and expensive, pegged at $7 per kg upwards.
A visit to the branch in Masvingo industrial area yesterday showed all gloom and doom with the skeletal staff remaining at the plant resorting to manual work in the grounds just to keep occupied.
Beef was said to be unavailable when NewsDay inquired at the CSC plant.
Branch manager Enias Sadzauchi said the Masvingo branch is not slaughtering any beasts, but only selling beef slaughtered from Bulawayo, despite its massive infrastructure and potential.
We are not slaughtering beef at the moment; we are only selling beef which comes from Bulawayo. But of course, we are a slaughtering branch, Sadzauchi said.
Before it declined, the Masvingo branch used to slaughter more than 500 beasts daily employing thousands of workers.
Sadzauchi said the branch had been left with a skeletal staff as most of the workers had been employed for slaughter and beef dressing.
Most of the staff was for slaughter and dressing, but since we are not slaughtering, they are all gone. We are left with few people, he said.
At a tour of the Masvingo plant in 2009, CSC chief executive Ngoni Chinogaramombe said the Masvingo branch needed over $100 000 to recapitalise.