Padenga accepts the responsibility it carries towards sustainable development and the necessity for it to minimise its environmental footprint. Consequently the Company is focused on the development of energy and resource efficient strategies that have minimal impact on the local environment, natural resources, and communities.
Environmental Footprint – Padenga has on-going initiatives to improve its energy efficiencies as it seeks to further reduce its reliance on coal and electricity. Further to this, there are active investigations into effluent disposal systems to reduce any negative impact on the environment and to ensure compliance with the Environmental Management Act. The Environmental Management Authority regularly conduct inspections on the farms to verify compliance.
“As part of PHL’s commitment to environmental sustainability, there are on-going initiatives to improve the Company’s energy efficiency in an effort to further reduce its coal and electricity usages.”
Ranched operation – Padenga operates in accordance with the “Ranching Model” for crocodilian production as defined by CITES. This internationally accepted method of crocodile production safeguards the population status of wild crocodiles through a policy of sustainable use. Annual egg collection permits are issued against quotas by the Zimbabwean Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, through the offices of the Crocodile Farmer’s Association of Zimbabwe (CFAZ) which administers the programme on behalf of the competent authority. In an effort to monitor the impact of the industry on wild crocodile populations, detailed statistical returns pertaining to egg and hatchling numbers are submitted annually to the regulating authority on completion of the egg collection and incubation season.
Reducing reliance on eggs collected from the wild – Padenga has committed itself to a programme of eventual self-reliance on egg production from domestic breeders raised to maturity on the farm. This is an on-going and long term initiative given that it takes at least twelve years to raise a crocodile to reproductive maturity and around fifteen years before the offspring realized from the young females are of a size and quality comparable with those produced by fully mature females. Currently 75% of all hatchlings produced within the operation are from domestic stock as Padenga continues to strive towards 100% domestic hatchling production.
Local community crocodile conservation initiatives – Crocodiles are traditionally viewed by local communities along the shoreline of Kariba as predators that threaten their lives and livelihood. The reptiles prey on people and livestock, as well as destroying nets and impacting on the ability of the fishing communities to maximize their catches. Consequently, crocodiles caught in nets are killed and nests are destroyed in order to limit the impact of the reptile on the local population. Padenga staff have, for many years, conducted pre- and post-egg collection visits to shoreline communities and embarked on conservation education programmes during which the overall value of the crocodile to the nation is explained and reinforced. Communities are encouraged not to destroy crocodiles caught in nets and are incentivized to protect and report nests so that the eggs can be collected.
Local Conservation Initiatives – Padenga continues to provide strategic support to “The Tashinga Initiative”, a wildlife and community conservation project addressing the problems of unsustainable resource use, illegal activities and a serious loss of operational capacity in the various wildlife areas within the Zambezi Valley. With improvements to the Matusadona National Park infrastructure including communications, roads and staff housing, and intensive law enforcement and field operations training provided to PWLMA staff through TTI’s initiatives, there is an expectation that the integrity of this important conservation area will once again be maintained in accordance with its status as a premier wildlife reserve.