LUSAKA, May 17 - Zambia will this year export an estimated 35,000 crocodile skins worth K10 billion mainly from the Gwembe valley crocodile industry.
And the Zambia State Insurance Corporation (ZSIC) says it has designed an appropriate insurance policy to cover the emerging industry to promote its growth and the economy in general.
Crocodile Farmers Association of Zambia (CFAZ) chairman Johann Jordan said in Sinazongwe at the weekend that there was great potential in the crocodile industry especially with the rise in economic activities of the Asian economy which was the major export market.
Mr Jordan, whose Zongwe Farming Enterprises produce about 70 per cent of Zambia's total crocodile skin exports, was speaking when a ZISC management team led by managing director Irene Muyenga toured some of the crocodile farms in the valley at the weekend.
He said huge quantities of crocodile meat was being exported into the Asian markets of Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan with his farm exporting up to 50 tonnes annually.
Mr Jordan who has about 75,000 crocodiles on his farm said the sector was fast growing following the turn around in the 15 years of economic recession in Asia which had slowed down growth.
Another farmer Billy Mulders of Gordana Crocodiles said the Zambian industry had a lot of potential to capture a sizeable market share from regional competitors because of the high quality skin production that conforms to international standards.
Mr Mulders said some countries in the region were now using their crocodile industry for tourism attraction and this had compromised skin quality to the advantage of Zambian exports.
And Ms Muyenga said the crocodile insurance policy was put in place to cater for a sector that needed support as Zambia diversified its export base.
Ms Muyenga said during the farmers cocktail pary at Sinazongwe 's Lake View Lodge, that the tailor made policy by ZISC was meant to address farmers and other clients' specific insurance needs.
She said the tour of Sinazongwe was also meant to reconcile the new policy with realities on farms to enable the corporation to design a policy that would benefit both the insured and insurer.
Ms Muyenga said ZISC had the capacity to handle local insurance requirements especially with the turn around in ZISC operations from 2000.
The corporation was now working towards ensuring that it was listed on the stock market once it meets all critical requirements to trade on the stock market.
These include a three year profitability record which she said had been met as the corporation had been declaring profits since 2000.
Ms Muyenga said the corporation was in the coming year working towards the liquidation of the Government debt and further ensure the company remained profitable with sufficient reserves to meet claims.