Published May 03, 2012 08:13
Meatco’s Oshakati abattoir has been approved to deliver free range certified beef to premium retailer Woolworths South Africa (SA). This follows a successful audit which was completed last week at Meatco’s Oshakati operations as well as on qualifying producers’ farms.
Previously, the Oshakati abattoir was only approved for commercial beef delivery to Woolworths SA. Now, for the first time, Meatco can deliver free range certified product from the Northern Communal Areas (NCA) to Woolworths SA.
“This is a milestone for Meatco and the Namibian Beef Industry,” said Cyprianus Khaiseb, Meatco’s Manager for the NCA. “It has proven that not only can we sell meat from the NCA to a high-end retailer such as Woolworths SA - which is an achievement in itself - but we have earned the privilege to be able to differentiate and sell our product in the premium space in these stores as well.”
Free range beef fetches a higher price than commercial beef. Discerning consumers are willing to pay a premium for free range certified beef because it guarantees that the animal was raised naturally - free from growth hormones and antibiotics, allowed to roam freely in the veld and raised and brought to slaughter with the necessary animal welfare practices in place.
Producers South of the Veterinary Cordon Fence have been able to benefit from free range practices ever since Meatco started developing the market a few years ago, but this will be the first time that this benefit will extend to producers in the NCA. Traditionally, the cattle production systems applied in the NCA do not comply with Woolworths’ free range requirements, but Meatco has through its continued efforts in the NCA managed to assist groups of NCA producers to implement necessary free range practices.
The visitors from Woolworths and Excellent Meats, who formed part of the audit team, commented on the remarkable effort that Meatco is making in the NCA through its cattle procurement initiatives, its mentorship and education programmes which teach producers how to raise and deliver the right type of cattle and the correct farming practices; and on assisting producers on their journey in implementing commercially viable cattle production systems.
Meatco’s value addition through its operations and marketing efforts are paying off. During the 2011/2012 financial year the company was able to pay its producers the highest average price in Meatco’s history. This is a significant achievement taking into account that Meatco managed to do this with less product available to market during the year under review as well as a volatile global economic environment.