In an interview, Made said Russia will soon dispatch a technical team to Harare to examine beef export systems and checks, while exploring the potential for buying additional foodstuffs.
“One of the commodities that Russia has asked us to supply is beef, and other related agricultural products, said Made, who noted that the government would work with private and communal producers. He said the deal could help revive Zimbabwe supplier the Cold Storage Company (CSC), while restocking the national herd.
“We are excited by the opportunities that will be availed by the corporation between the two countries in the agricultural sector. We are expecting a technical mission from Russia at any time, which will examine export technicalities and allied opportunities that exist in the country over time. We will be signing an MOU [memorandum of understanding] with the agricultural ministry of Russia,” he said.
Made said Russia had offered to provide pharmaceutical and veterinary assistance to help Zimbabwe produce good-quality beef, and help for poultry and pig farming, to build capacity for future exports.
He added that the move was timely, given his government is finalising a national livestock production strategy. This involves Zimbabwe seeking diverse meat export sales, also in southern Africa, the EU and the Far East.
Muhle Masuku, of livestock production and marketing solutions firm Livestock Zone, said Zimbabwe could develop niche sales as its grass-fed meat is produced off the veldt. “Government efforts to boost the exports of meat are a welcome development, as this will reinvigorate livestock production in the country. Exports will also boost investor confidence in the sector as there is a guaranteed market for the final product,” he said.
“I believe Zimbabwe can have a niche market, as our meat is special in that it is not contaminated by any organic feeds, it is off the veldt. Furthermore, given the industry’s consciousness over organic feeds, I see us having a comparative advantage over other producers,” he said. That said, he added the government needed to address comparatively high meat production costs in Zimbabwe, which eroded competitiveness. “We need to supply our meat at affordable prices; I urge the government to address this issue before embarking on major exports.”