The Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU) held a workshop aimed at building consensus on the transformation of the farming activities expected to take place in the Northern Communal Area (NCA) on 22-23 July 2019 in Otjiwarongo.
Meatco, a strategic stakeholder in the creation of a sustainable NCA market, as part of its national mandate to serve the interest of farmers and stabilise the meat industry in the national interest, attended the workshop hosted under the theme "The Development of the NCA Livestock Sector Transformation".
The workshop, which additionally aimed to create a value-chain from "farm-to-fork" in the NCA, established that there are limited marketing opportunities supporting farmers in that area. On that basis, the industry deems it important to start streamlining and transforming that market to deliver in order to benefit farmers who are disadvantaged due to the animal health status of the NCA, namely the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) protection zone above the Veterinary Cordon Fence.
According to Meatco's Executive: Marketing and Sales, Isaac Nathinge, the NNFU commissioned a study that investigated the marketing systems for livestock and livestock products in the NCA, in order to understand production, processing and marketing systems and the decisions that the role players make within these systems. Furthermore, the study identified key constraints and opportunities within the existing value chains that can subsequently become the focus of policy, strategy, institutional and regulatory attention. Ultimately, the study advocates for market access of livestock and livestock products originating from the NCA in the domestic, regional and international markets through a commodity-based trade approach.
Upon completion of the study, the NNFU invited various stakeholders to the workshop to appreciate the recommendations of the study while agreeing on the implementation plan of those recommendations, which will present tangible transformation results in the area.
"From a Meatco perspective as part of our task by the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry (MAWF) to develop a strategy for the NCA, this was an opportunity for us to ensure that the critical aspects of the strategy were incorporated in the outcome of the workshop. Meatco believes it has the most suitable model for what the NNFU is striving to achieve, which is creating a livestock value-chain in the NCA," Nathinge says.
"Meatco intends to operate the Rundu Abattoir under a lease agreement with MAWF. Therefore, we would like the Rundu Abattoir to be linked to a feedlot supported by the green scheme programme to promote marketing of younger animals and improve the quality of older animals. Ultimately, Meatco would like to regain its market share that we lost during the closure of the Oshakati and Katima Mulilo abattoirs following the outbreak of FMD in 2014," he concluded.