Customs duties on export are hindering Zambia’s crocodiles farming. The Zambian Crocodile Farmers Association sounded the alarm. According to a press release, made public by the association, the 10% duty imposed on exports of crocodile hides has brought to a remarkable downturn in sales. Consequently, around 1.3 million hides are supposedly stockpiled in the refrigerating rooms of several breeding farms, all around the country.
Paying off a debt
Zambia’s Ministry of Treasury applied such customs duty on export in January 2019, while comprising it in a tax package. The main reason why they decided to impose taxes was to collect some additional assets to pay off their foreign debt, which has increased six-fold in the last 10 years. For the time being, consequences have heavily affected the agricultural industry, and crocodiles farming in particular. In fact, looking at figures provided by the association, in 2019, farmers have exported about 22,000 crocodile hides; they amounted to 31,685 at the end of the year before. This year, two breeding farms have already shut down. Two more, supposedly, are about to shut down shortly.
The risk of downfall
Johann Jordan is the President of the Zambian Crocodile Farmers Association. In his opinion, the “current situation is appalling”, so much so that “duties are going to knock out our industry”. Allegedly, exports of crocodile hides have produced, by paying related taxes, a little treasure trove, which amounts to 350,000 US dollars. “Over 600 jobs are at risk, most of all in the agricultural areas – points out Jordan –. It takes about four years to create crocodiles farming: should the business collapse, it is most unlikely to recover. It is high time – wraps up the president of the crocodile farmers association – the government made up its mind and decide whether the industry is bound to stay alive or collapse”.