While Namibian cattle producers has described the direct involvement of Karan Beef of South Africa in the Namibian procurement market as a possible early Christmas gift, one baffling question remains unanswered: Where and how will Meatco as Namibia's most important export abattoir feature in the operation?
Rosa Hamukuaja-Thobias, the Manager of Corporate Affairs at Meatco has confirmed that Karan Beef requested a meeting with Meatco last week but the meeting was cancelled by Karan Beef and postponed to early next year.
"Meatco is thus currently not in a position to comment on the entrance of Karan into the Namibian weaner procurement industry until such meeting has taken place and all facts are known. Equally, Meatco cannot comment at this stage whether the involvement of Karan in the Namibian weaner industry shall have advantages/disadvantages to Meatco and/or the producer until all facts are known," Hamukuaja-Thobias commented.
Justin Karan, a director of Karan Beef told this reporter in a telephonic interview from Johannesburg that Karan Beef's direct involvement in the procurement of cattle will have to take the role of Meatco into account.
"We have been in discussions with Meatco and did arrange for a first meeting but that had to be cancelled due to circumstances. A meeting between the role players will take place early next year and at this stage I am not at liberty to reveal more details," said Karan, assuring the Namibian government, Meatco and all producers that they are coming to Namibia with an open mind to do sensible business that will greatly benefit Namibian producers.
"Especially the battling communal farmers who are responsible for delivering some 70 percent of all weaner calves. We have an immaculate track record and our venture into Namibia will be done on solid business principles. There is no hidden agenda," he assures, adding that dialogue between Karan Beef and Meatco will bring the answers to current questions about cooperation.
Hamukuaja-Thobias says Meatco has gone through a stringent strategic re-alignment process and is in a healthy state to compete in the local cattle industry and secure the best prices for the Namibian producers.
All role players are pointing out the importance of Meatco's role as export abattoir, expressing the hope that the company can stay out of the limelight for the wrong reasons in the New Year and serve its members to the full and to the benefit of the entire industry and the country's economy.