PADENGA Holdings says it is optimistic about the remaining six months of the year and achieving operational and financial targets for the period.
BY MISHMA CHAKANYUKA
The company, which is engaged in the production and sale of crocodile skins and meat, anticipates to sell out its entire production this year as demand from the European Union (EU) remains firm.
Chief executive officer, Gary Sharp, told the company’s annual general meeting that demand for crocodile meat within the EU remains strong particularly in the absence of ostrich and venison (Game animal meat) which was prohibited in South Africa.
“On the meat front, recent amendments to EU legislation necessitated the establishment of bi-lateral trade agreements between Zimbabwe and individual EU member countries. Protocols have since been established with both Belgium and Switzerland,” Sharp said.
“Discussions are in progress for the final volumes for the FY19 contract, but we are assured that our full production will be sold. There is no current interest from the Asian market for crocodile meat. We will continue to maintain sales promotions of low value cuts into the local market to preserve our market share in the absence of sales into Asia.”
Since the beginning of the year, Padenga has harvested 4 299 crocodiles to date and the harvestable crop in pens is in line with the group’s expectations and is set to meet its 2019 targets.
“The first sales grading of the year was conducted at the end of February 2019 with a total of 2 120 skins being graded and achieving an 87% first grade ratio with the bulk of these skins being from last season’s harvest,” Sharp said.
The United States operation commenced harvesting in January and a total of 13 922 skins were processed.
“Conditions are favourable for another above average egg collection season but competition for hatchlings appears less intense as producers assess the implications of pressure from the premium brands to implement operational changes consistent with best practice, ethical production systems and sustainability,” he said.
Sharp said the company will cut its capital expenditure in 2019 but continue to focus on infrastructure that will improve skin quality, production efficiencies, increase growth rates and enhance animal welfare.
Padenga commissioned its first phase of solar array at the northern farms last week which is now feeding into the national grid and the other arrays are expected to be completed by year end.
“We commissioned the first 330kWp phase of the solar array last week at the northern farms which is now feeding into the national grid to offset the electricity the operation uses daily. An additional 470kWp solar array is complete and we are moving rapidly to commission that later this year,” Sharp said.
“The final 400kWp array to complete the planned 1,2MW installation will commence shortly for completion by year end.”