GOVERNMENT is set to implement a $2,3 million African Private Sector Assistance Fund aimed at developing the leather and beef value chain in Matabeleland region, an official has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Addressing delegates during the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) 2016 annual congress in Bulawayo, Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha said the funds were sourced from the African Development Bank.
“I am pleased to advise that the government would shortly be implementing the African Private Sector Fund sourced from the African Development Bank, which is sum of $2,3 million, to support the leather and beef value chain targeting Matabeleland,” he said.
One of the objectives of the project is to increase the overall competitiveness of the beef and leather value chain in pilot areas primarily through building stakeholder’s production capacities and enabling them to access local and export markets.
The country’s beef industry has been struggling for over a decade, since the European Union (EU) banned meat imports from Zimbabwe due to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth, which has since been contained.
The Cold Storage Company (CSC), Zimbabwe’s sole beef exporting agency, had an annual export quota of 9 100 metric tonnes to the EU and about 5 000 metric tonnes to South Africa.
The CSC also had a $15 million revolving payment facility with the EU and the entity used to earn Zimbabwe at least $45 million annually.
The firm is now operating at less than 10% of its capacity, employing 500 workers from as much as 1 500 in the 1990s.