Producing crocodiles efficiently is no different to any other form of intensive livestock production. Optimum nutrition is essential to maximise growth efficiencies, to achieve the desired level of skin quality within the shortest possible time and to ensure that the meat produced as a by-product is suitable for sale to discerning consumers worldwide.
Padenga’s crocodiles are fed a highly specialised diet formulated for the different stages of growth, with additional nutrients being added against seasonal demand. The reptile, being an ectotherm, has metabolic rates determined by the ambient temperature and therefore has very different nutrient requirements in summer versus winter.
Feed ingredients are sourced internationally to best advantage and formulated into a composite feed by a manufacturer in South Africa. All ingredients fed to Padenga’s crocodiles are in fact certified as fit for human consumption and highlight the attention paid to providing the best quality feed possible.
Zimbabwe has very comprehensive and stringent protocols in place relating to best practice in crocodile production. Padenga fully complies with all these requirements, which are enforced by the Department of Veterinary Services and which is itself a division of the Ministry of Agriculture. The primary regulations relating to crocodile production include:
• Animal Health Act (1961) Chapter 19:01 (Revised 1996)
• Prevention of Animal Cruelty Act (2001)
• Food & Food Standards Act (1971) Chapter 15:04
• Fertilizers, Farm Feeds and Remedies Act (1996) Chapter 18:12
• Drugs Control Act Chapter 320
Representatives from the relevant government agencies conduct routine inspections of the Padenga operation to confirm compliance with the statutes. These include an annual in-depth farm inspection by a state veterinary inspector as well as monthly inspections by public health officers checking compliance in relation to export meat production protocols. These are necessary to verify Padenga’s compliance with international best practice standards and to certify that the skin and meat products are suitable for export. No medicines are used within a 6 month period of intended slaughter to ensure that the carcass meat is totally free of medicinal residues.