The Namibian (Windhoek)

Namibia: NCA a Priority for Meatco

MEATCO continues to view the Northern Communal Areas (NCA) as strategically important to the cattle industry, as it has the potential to have a positive impact should the commercial potential of the area be fully unlocked.

According to the Meatco annual report of the 2011-12 book year a large percentage of Namibia's cattle population is found in this area, and continued discussions were held between Meatco and Government during the year under review to have the veterinary status of the Region changed.

In the light of the above-mentioned the Meatco Working Group, consisting of producers, the Namibia National Farmers' Union (NNFU), the Namibia Emerging Commercial Farmers Union (NECFU) and the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU), drew up a proposal for the new Meat Company based on principles such as accessibility and inclusiveness of all Namibian livestock producers, which was wiped off the table by Government. The state is of the opinion that the participation and protection of communal and emerging farmers are not well protected in terms of the Working Group model.

The group also includes the principle of non-discrimination and fairness between communal, emerging and commercial producers, equitable opportunity for participation to producers and democratic decision making in terms of one-member-one vote as well as that the company should be owned and controlled by the participating livestock producers.

Cattle slaughtered at the Oshakati abattoir increased by 3 610 (47,1 per cent) to 11 276 during the year under review, while the Katima Mulilo abattoir managed to slaughter 6 738, which is a decrease of one per cent compared to the previous year. However, the Katima Mulilo abattoir was closed from November 2011 onwards due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the area.

In the mean time Meatco has greatly enhanced the processes, efficiencies and the quality standards of the Oshakati abattoir to such an extend that the factory was able to start delivering free range products to Woolworth in South Africa.

"This confirms the immense potential of the region that, if further developed could provide a significant boost to the industry and greatly benefit producers both north and south of the Veterinary Cordon fence," read the annual report.

The total investment into the NCA for the year under review amounted to N$23,3 million in terms of operating losses.

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