Kariba Crocodile Farm, established in 1965, was the first commercial crocodile venture in the country. Ume Crocodile Farm (UCF) was established in 1973 as an adjunct to a private safari hunting operation located on the Ume River in the Omay area. This business and the Kariba Crocodile Farm were purchased by the Astra Corporation and then sold on in 1993 to a company that later became an integral part of the Innscor Group. The two farms were then formally incorporated into the Innscor Group in 1998 under the title of the Niloticus Division.
The two original farms underwent significant development and expansion whilst within the Innscor Group and today each is a standalone production facility with the capacity to produce 14,000 skins per annum. In 2005, construction of the new Nyanyana Crocodile Farm (NCF) began on a site adjacent and contiguous to the KCF operation. The NCF farm was designed and constructed in-house and incorporated the accumulated knowledge and experience gained by staff and directors from operating the other two farms over the preceding years. The construction of NCF was at that time, the largest investment into a new commercial crocodile operation in Africa, and was initially designed with an annual capacity of 20,000 skins per annum on a three year growth cycle.
KCF and NCF house the Company’s main administrative and support facilities as the UCF farm’s remote location and difficult access pose certain logistical challenges. This geographical division conversely provides a certain degree of security in terms of the risk of biological cross-contamination from the other two farms.
Many years of experience, passion and commitment by the teams on the farms were integral in bringing the operations to the levels they are at today. Staff numbers have increased from 33 in 1993 to a current total of 400 permanent members of staff, making the Company a vital part of the economy in the Kariba area.
In July 2010, Padenga was incorporated as a full subsidiary of the Innscor Group and in August 2010, Padenga purchased by way of a Purchase and Sale Agreement, the entire assets and liabilities of the Niloticus Division from the Innscor Group. This was followed by the formal listing of Padenga Holdings Limited on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange on the 29th of November 2010.
In June 2012, Padenga purchased a 50% shareholding in Lone Star Alligator Farms, LLC, in Texas, USA. This was followed in July 2013 by LSAF establishing a wholly owned subsidiary called Lone Star Alligator Products (LSAP) which facilitates the contract skinning of wild and domestic alligators and the processing and sale of alligator meat from the animals skinned. The alligator farm and the meat processing plant are in the town of Winnie, in Texas, whilst the skinning plant is situated just east of the town of Delcambre, in Louisiana.
The word “padenga” is a Shona word that refers to, or describes, a high point such as on top of a tree, or a mountain top or above the clouds. It may be used to refer to something intangible, indescribable, lofty or exalted. “Padenga” describes a desirable position, a place of comfort and authority. Class, quality, luxury, brilliance, aspiration and affability are all words that may be associated with “Padenga”.
The adoption of the word “Padenga” for the company’s name describes and symbolises the Company’s vision to be regarded as the world’s foremost producer of premium quality crocodilian skins.