The Deputy Minister of Agriculture responsible for livestock Paddy Zhanda said the government is looking at ways of resuscitating the Cold Storage Commission and has so far held two meeting with the CSC board.
He was expected to hold another meeting this week.
Zhanda was responding to Kadoma Central Member of Parliament Fani Phiri who had asked what the government was doing about the CSC especially the fact that some people were stripping the assets of the Kadoma plant.
He said the problem at the CSC was that it had never been given any money when the country dollarised and this had resulted in the plants at Masvingo, Kadoma, Marondera and Chinhoyi being closed.
The government was looking at ways of resuscitating the CSC including looking for donors.
Question and answer:
*MR. PHIRI: My question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture concerning the cold storage buildings. What does the policy of the Ministry say concerning these buildings which are not being used? I have asked this question because we are seeing these buildings being stripped and people are taking the roofing and the hinges, especially the former white farmers who were owed money by the Cold Storage Commission while they were selling their cattle through the Cold Storage Commission.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE (LIVESTOCK) (MR. ZHANDA): I would like to thank the hon.member for asking the question. Yes, it is very true. I think his question is directed at the Cold Storage Commission in Kadoma because it is the one that has not been functioning for a long time and I foresee it not functioning in the near future. The problem with the Cold Storage is a big challenge and it is country wide. The only one that is working is the one in Bulawayo. The ones in Masvingo, Kadoma, Marondera and Chinhoyi are not functioning and it is all because there is no funding. So it is not only Cold Storage which is facing that challenge. During the transition from using the Zimbabwean dollar to the United States dollar, every business was supposed to be given the new money. The Cold Storage was not given the new money for it to function properly. So, we are looking into the issue so that the Cold Storage Commission gets some funding. We are even looking to outside donors who are interested so that it will start functioning. Thank you.
*MR. PHIRI: The problem prevailing at the moment is that this issue is really alarming. We find that, some branches of the Cold Storage Company in the country were especially built for exporting products and international standards built on them. What is worrying us now is that the Government is silent whilst things are going astray. We need to have people who take steps to re-activate the Cold Storage Company. My question is, why are these people stripping the Cold Storage Company buildings and nothing is being done to punish the offenders?
*MR. ZHANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to answer this question. Yes, I know that most of the Cold Storage Company branches were specially made for exporting meat products. Kadoma was the only one which was made for such things as sausages and other products besides exports. What I can say about what is happening in Kadoma is that there is vandalism and stripping of property. Let me say that, we have not been quiet on this issue. Since I started in this ministry, I have had two meetings with the board of the Cold Storage Commission, debating on what can be done to resuscitate the fortunes of the Cold Storage Company. Again this week, I am going to meet the board in Bulawayo so that we can look for ways and means of solving the Cold Storage problems.