Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
MALAYSIA has expressed readiness to import beef from the Cold Storage Company (CSC) once the firm meets international quality standards that the Asian country upholds.
CSC recently secured an investor, Boustead Beef, which has committed to injecting US$400 million towards the revival of the country’s largest beef processor and marketer.
Boustead Beef is being financed by various equity investors from the United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Australia.
The firm will take over CSC’s legacy debt of close to $100 million.
Malaysia Ambassador to Zimbabwe Amarjit Sarjit Singh told Business Chronicle that as CSC gets back on track, it was imperative for the entity to get Malaysia Halal standards certification to allow beef exports from the country into the Southeast Asian country.
“CSC is a low hanging fruit in the eyes of the Government and Zimbabwe should immediately strike while there is still a lot of interest from the Halal market.
“These guys in Malaysia move fast and now it’s up to Zimbabwe to decide whether they want to keep them or not,” he said in an interview after a business cocktail hosted at a hotel in Bulawayo by the Malaysia-Zimbabwe Business Network on Tuesday evening.
Before CSC re-enters the Malaysia market, it has to attain Halal standards, which were just like those offered by the International Standards Organisation (ISO).
“Malaysia Halal standards are well renowned and well accepted globally. We have the expertise to consult and provide consultancy for Zimbabwe to attain those standards.
“So, instead of reinventing the wheel and going through the whole process from the beginning, why not partner us, get our expertise to come and help you to be Halal compliant and Halal certified source of meat.
“We have got in Malaysia the Halal Development Corporation, which has been working across the world . . . and whenever CSC is ready we will be available to provide consultancy,” said Amb Singh.
At its peak, CSC handled up to 150 000 tonnes of beef and associated by-products annually and exported to the European Union, where it had an annual quota of 9 100 tonnes of beef. The company used to earn the country about $45 million per year.
Last month, Boustead Beef Zimbabwe managing director Mr Nick Havercroft said their engineers had already started refurbishing CSC infrastructure and ranches across the country as part of preparations to resume full scale operations. — @okazunga