Cold Storage Company

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Cold Storage Company (CSC) is an agriculture processing state owned enterprise in Zimbabwe. The company is in the business of cattle ranching and beef processing. CSC was established in 1938 by the to serve the interests of small-scale cattle farmers and promote the country’s beef industry.

The company is currently struggling following significant decline in the the late 90s. At its height, it was one of the country's top companies, employing more than 4,700 people. CSC cattle herd had dwindled to 341 animals across the country as of March 2017.[1]

In addition to beef the company also produced for sale a large variety of by-products such as hides, neats foot oil, ox gall, edible offals, bloodmeal, meat and bone meal, tallow and dripping, canned meats,ham, and pork sausages among others.

See Mutapa Investment Fund.


Around 1924 the Rhodesian government went into an agreement with the South African-based Imperial Cold Storage and Supply Company Ltd to establish a subsidiary company that would develop a chilled and frozen beef industry on the basis of an agreement that later became Act Number 34 of 1924.

The company would have a monopoly to export chilled and frozen meat for a period of ten years, effectively guaranteeing it against losses. Rhodesian Export and Cold Storage Company Ltd (Recsco) started operating in 1928.

On 15 October 1937, Cabinet resolved that a Bill should be drafted for the establishment of a commission on the lines of the Electricity Commission] to take over Resco. The proposed Bill subsequently became the Cold Storage Commission Act 37 of 1937, which provided for the establishment of a Commission for the purpose of acquiring, establishing and operating abattoirs and refrigerating works for the purpose of chilling, freezing and storing beef, mutton, pork, poultry and other meat foods for export or for consumption.

The Commission subsequently took control of the works, which included a Cold Storage Area grant of 50 morgen, plant and machinery and Strathmore Ranch, on the Gwanda Road south of Mbalabala (then Balla Balla) on May 1, 1938.


Following the expropriation by government, CSC expanded and modernised the Bulawayo factory. It also established new abattoirs in Harare (Salisbury) in 1943, Mutare (Umtali) in 1946 and, Masvingo (Fort Victoria) in 1951. It also built cold stores in Kwekwe (Que Que) in 1946 and Gweru (Gwelo) in 1947.

The company would export to regional countries such as Zambia, South Africa and Congo as well as the United Kingdom.

By 1960, the total national herd increased from under 3,6 million head in 1948 to about 4,75 million head. The company grew further after the formation of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in 1953. CSC now also operated 3 meat works in Northen Rhodesia at Livingstone, Lusaka and Kitwe and 1 in Blantyre, Nyasaland.

At the time the Commission handled about 60 percent of the total slaughter production of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

The expansion of CSC resulted in increased demand for beef and the government started going after livestock owned by Africans. In 1941, government formalised its de-stocking policy by passing the Natural Resources Act No. 9 of 1941, Section 36 of which provided for the limitation of the numbers of livestock in African areas on the grounds that overstocking in those areas was causing environmental degradation.

In 1951, the Native Land Husbandry Act was passed, and it provided for further limitation of stock owners in the African reserves.

Pork Industry

In 1948, CSC ventured into the pork industry through the acquisition of Neill’s Bacon Factory. The company had operations in Bulawayo and Salisbury. This followed the establishment of the Rhodesia National Pig Breeders’ Co-op Ltd by Matabeleland pig farmers in 1947.

The Commission processed and marketed all the Co-op’s slaughter pigs at prices fixed by the Rhodesian Pig Industry Board

In 1957, the Commission divested from the business and handed it over to Colcom, then a privately controlled producers’ organisation.

Poultry Industry

In 1948 CSC also invested in the poultry industry via a recently-established Rhodesian Poultry Co-op. Poultry producers were guaranteed a market as it took all eggs offered by members of the Co-op at a fixed price. The Commission withdrew from the venture in 1964.

Post Independence

After the country's independence in 1980, the commission went into the hands of the Zimbabwean government.

CSC went into gradual decline due to mismanaged. By the 2000, the company had virtually shut down most of its operations.

Following a military coup in 2017, President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised to resuscitate the company.

In May 2019, cabinet approved a joint venture between Cold Storage Company (CSC) and Boulstead Beef (a UK company) that it said would invest US $130 million into CSC. The venture was reportedly based on a Concession Agreement under Rehabilitate, Operate and Transfer (ROT) terms. Boustead will also take over and manage CSC ranches in Maphaneni, Dubane, Umguza, Chivumbuni, Mushandike, Willsgrove and Darwendale for an initial period of 25 years. It would also take over and manage CSC’s distribution centres and residential properties in Harare, Gweru and Mutare for the same period.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Africa Moyo, UK beef giant takes over CSC, The Herald, Published: 15 May 2019, Accessed: 04 Nov 2019

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