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Croc-Burgers Stay on Menu Even as Crookes Closes Breeding Unit

May 31 (Bloomberg) -- Crookes Brothers Ltd., a South African farming group, will keep its tourist operation where crocodile burgers are on the menu even after closing its breeding unit due to poor skin prices and rising competition.

The company, which sold its herd of about 9,000 reptiles in January, will keep some breeding stock for its tourist operation and restaurant in Scottburgh, a coastal town in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, Finance Director Phillip Barker said by phone today.

Crookes Brothers, which started breeding crocodiles in 1985, can no longer compete with better quality skins from abroad, he said. “The decline began with the financial crisis and South Africa can’t easily compete” now, Barker said.

The company, which traces its history back to the 1860s, will now focus on its farming business, which produces sugar, bananas, deciduous fruit and grain in South Africa and Zambia. It also farms sheep and cattle, according to its website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Latham in Johannesburg at blatham@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gordon Bell at gbell16@bloomberg.net

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