Our processing operations consist of different sections where animals are slaughtered and processed into meat products. Workers are assigned to specific workstations and the carcasses move on a conveyor system from station to station until the slaughter and processing process is completed.
Meatco owns and operates two abattoirs, a feedlot and a tannery. The abattoirs are located in Windhoek and Okahandja and produce about 27,000 tonnes of beef annually. We have just over 1,000 employees, which makes us one of the biggest employers in Namibia. It also means we have a responsibility to ensure our labour practices are fair and equitable. We benchmark our labour and ethical practices and continuously invest in our staff training and development to ensure we remain competitive with the best in the world.
Two abattoirs in Oshakati and Katima Mulilo which are owned by the Government of Namibia and were previously managed by Meatco, ceased operations in March 2015. They are located within an area known as the Northern Communal Areas (NCA), an area where traditional cattle rearing is more prevalent than commercial farming practices. Meatco in the NCA will serve farmers under our new business model by operating a Mobile Slaughter Abattoir which will be going to the farmers, thereby bringing services closer to the producers.
Our strategic intent is to ensure that our operations are affordable, flexible, effective and scalable. This means our focus is on ensuring the correct size capacity for optimum flexibility, improving in labour productivity, conforming to quality and food safety standards, improving efficiencies and managing of costs, and compliance with occupational health and safety standards.
While ensuring that Meatco is capable of meeting the demands of current and future markets, our processing operations also maintained continuous compliance with International quality standards and export requirements.
Similarly, we are always on the path to continuously improve our production practices. At Meatco, processing takes place under very strict food quality and hygiene practices. All of our abattoirs, including the ones in the NCA, are ISO- and HACCP-certified.
The two larger abattoirs also have EU export status and are subject to regular inspections by the European Union and various other third parties, including SAI Global, SGS, Grolink and a number of our global clients. Both export abattoirs are also certified by the British Retail Consortium, which certifies food safety and quality systems and scrutinizes ethical and fair practices, animal welfare and corporate social responsibility.
We are experts at managing and maintaining the cold chain throughout our entire processing process and the traceability systems we have in place ensure that one can track Meatco’s product from the fork all the way back to the farm of origin.
We regularly benchmark ourselves against the best in the world and keep raising the bar to ensure that we are amongst the best meat processors globally. Being a factory in Africa where unemployment is high, labour plays an important role in our operations. Therefore, when we look at improving the technology of our business, we don’t look for technology to replace people, but rather to supplement them and increase our capacity to deliver more products.