Crocodile skin manufacturer Padenga Holdings says it expects to meet its target of 46 000 skins this year after commencing crocodile harvesting in March, with firm demand for the skins driving profitability.
Chief executive Gary Sharp told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting that a total 7 493 crocodiles have been culled since the start of the harvest.
“Warmer temperatures have been prevalent while high lake levels had offered improved water quality. The size and quality of the harvestable crop in the pens gives us confidence that we will attain 46 000 skins this year of 34.6cms belly width average,” Sharp said.
The group will continue with its strategy to harvest more of the younger crocodiles to reduce the production cycle.
“First sales grading of the year had been conducted at the end of April and achieved a grade average consistent with expectations. A total 2 725 crocodile skins in stock were graded and shipped in January,” he added.
On operations, Sharp said in Zimbabwe crocodile numbers totalled 46 409 for 18-month olds and 51 822 for six month olds.
Harvesting at Padenga’s United States operation, Lone Star Alligator Farms commenced in February, with 5 738 alligators of watchband size and medium size skins culled as of Monday.
It expects to harvest another 2 ,639 alligators this year.
Approximately 3 330 alligators will be carried forward, he added.
Sharp said discussions about crocodile meat sales to Europe were successful and that the company is finalising volumes for contract.
There was, however, no interest for crocodile meat in Asia while the company will continue to supply the local market with low value cuts.
The group has so far commissioned 18 pens while 80 are due to be completed.
Expenses in the four months to April were one percent below budget, Sharp said. – The Source