The Sunday Mail
THE National Social Security Authority (NSSA), which is keen to revive the Cold Storage Company as part of efforts to empower communal and commercial farmers, will inject fresh capital into the firm in the first half of this year.
Already, NSSA has seconded a resource person to do a pre investment due diligence at the meat processing firm.
It has also emerged that NSSA could end up investing more than the previously suggested $18 million, depending on the final business model to be adopted for this project.
The $18 million planned fresh capital injection, to breathe new lease of life into the highly indebted and financially hamstrung company, is set to be invested in phases.
Last week, NSSA’s marketing and communications executive, Mr Tendayi Mutseyekwa told The Sunday Mail Business that processes are underway for the investment in CSC.
“The authority awaits the duly signed shareholder agreements by the relevant ministries within Government, after which a robust due diligence will be conducted by competent persons.
“This will enable NSSA to develop a sustainable business model as well as facilitate the injection of capital within the first half of 2018.
“This investment is part of efforts to grow and improve sustainability of the NSSA fund.
“The overall amount that will be injected into CSC will be a function of the adopted business model and business plan. Initially, NSSA was approached with a view to consider phased capital injection of $18 million,” said Mr Mutseyekwa.
The revival of CSC is seen as crucial by Government as it has benefits in the value chain.
It is expected that the revival of CSC will directly empower communal and commercial cattle farmers who have huge herds of cattle, but do not have a reliable and fair market.
This has resulted in many of them losing their cattle for a song to fly-by-night buyers and unscrupulous middleman.
In Masvingo, it is believed communal farmers own up to two million cattle and could supply up to 400 cattle to CSC per day.
If CSC is revived, Bulawayo residents, who are still toasting to the revival of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), would also get employment, which is at the centre of deliverables for the President Emmerson Mnangagwa led administration.
Mr Mutseyekwa said the resuscitation of the CSC will also create direct and indirect jobs across the entire value chain.
“This is in line with Government’s initiative of Command Livestock,” said Mr Mutseyekwa.
Government launched the Command Agriculture Livestock programme in December last year.
The programme – which is expected to be funded to the tune of $432 million by the State and the private sector, also covers fisheries and wildlife.
Once it has invested money into CSC, NSSA plans to have the entity run professionally by a “competent board and a suitably qualified management team” for the benefit of all stakeholders.
At its peak, CSC was the continent’s biggest meat processor, handling upwards of 150 000 tonnes of beef and its associated by-products per annum. It stopped exporting beef in 2007 following a series of outbreaks of the foot and mouth disease.
CSC stopped exporting to the European Union after failing to meet the bloc’s requirements.
A combination of bad management, challenges with raising working capital, a serious decline in the commercial herd, massive debts and cattle diseases blighted the sector.