The recently held Meatco Annual General Meeting (AGM) was graced by the presence of Honorable John Mutorwa, the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) for the first time. He informed those in attendance that government fully supports Meatco’s new business model in the NCA and is certain it will be successful once fully operational.
Honorable Minister John Mutorwa at the AGM
“The corporation is not going to disengage, but rather do business differently by using a Mobile Slaughter Unit (MSU) to allow for the marketing of livestock in the NCA,” Mutorwa said. Government was formally informed by Meatco about this change in conducting business in November 2015 and is thus aware of the current status, he added.
In addition, government through the MAWF, gave Meatco permission to use Omutambo-Mawe, which is one of the biggest quarantine camps in the Kunene Region, to house cattle after buying animals from farmers in that area. This process makes it easier for producers to market their animals.
Mutorwa informed producers about the marketing of livestock in the NCA and how important it is that they start selling their animals. Marketing in that area is now a matter of extreme urgency because of the prevailing drought the country is currently experiencing.
Contrary to what was reported in local media, communal farmers from the Zambezi Region that were present at Meatco’s AGM, moved for a motion to dismiss claims that certain farmers there do not want the MSU.
A communal farmer from the Zambezi Region, Boniface Limbo, requested that a motion be tabled that the majority of farmers in that region welcome Meatco’s new business model to the NCA.
A further appeal was made that Meatco consider taking the MSU to the Zambezi Region, since most of the farmers there have not sold their animals in two years. Consequently, there is a sense of urgency to market their cattle.
A motion was also tabled to review the requirements for membership to Meatco. According to the current membership qualification requirements, to qualify as an eligible Meatco member, a producer must have sold at least one animal to Meatco in the past two years.
At the AGM it was decided to amend this requirement to include all producers who have sold one animal to Meatco in the past three years. This amendment will cater for farmers in the Zambezi Region who, due to the reoccurrence of foot-and-mouth disease in that region, would otherwise not qualify as Meatco members.
Consequently producers in the Zambezi Region who have slaughtered with Meatco during the past three years are now eligible for membership.
The MSU is expected to arrive in the port of Walvis Bay on 13 July where it will undergo roadworthiness tests before it takes up its first slaughter test at the Windhoek abattoir. From there it will proceed to the Mutambo Ribebe quarantine camp in Kavango West approximately 50 km from Rundu, where more than 1 200 cattle will be slaughtered.
The MSU will reduce transport costs for producers, as the slaughter unit travels to farms and villages. This means that farmers will no longer need to transport their cattle over long distances. The MSU also allows for operational flexibility, since any amount of cattle available for slaughter can be accommodated with ease. It can also stimulate local entrepreneurship since all the offal will be sold directly to villagers and local SMEs. Another benefit is that the MSU’s operational costs are a fraction of the current fixed abattoirs.
A good representation of communal farmers from the NCA who came as far as the Kunene, Zambezi, Kavango and Ohangwena regions attended Meatco’s 30th AGM on 24 June 2016.