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Harare Reverses Ban on Private Abattoirs As Beef Sector Collapses

27 July 2007

ZIMBABWE - Facing the total collapse of the meat supply chain from slaughterhouses to wholesale butchers to retailers, the Zimbabwean government has made a sharp policy turn in asking a major private producer to step in where a state monopoly has failed.

The government asked Surrey Abattoirs, a major private slaughterhouse it shut down three weeks ago while giving the state-controlled Cold Storage Company a monopoly in the sector, to gear up to supply sides of beef to a market that has run dry.

CSC was unable to meet demand after Harare revoked the licenses of private firms, and supermarkets have been closing meat departments for lack of product. to sell. A Surrey manager, speaking on condition of anonymity, told VOA that members of the price task force instructed the firm on Wednesday to resume operations.

But the manager said Surrey Abattoirs might not be able to meet demand because cattle farmers are reluctant to accept low mandated prices. The state is paying Z$5 million (US$20) a head for cattle, compared with Z$30 million on the open market.

Butcher shops in Harare and Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city, also said the Cold Storage Company has been restricting meat sales to government entities such as police and army barracks, forcing the smaller private outlets to close their doors.

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Source: Voice of America


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