Meatco, through its Corporate Social Investment vehicle, the Meatco Foundation, allocated two stud Bonsmara bulls to the Omuramba communal farming community in the Kunene Region. Omuramba is located about 120 km from Opuwo.
The Meatco Foundation also constructed a crush pen there.
The allocation is aimed at helping farmers whose livelihood depends mainly on farming, to improve the genetics of their herd in respect of reproductive capacity, in stature and suitability for slaughter.
The bulls are valued at more than N$28 000 each.
“We are very happy to have received the bulls and we will take good care of them. They will help us improve our cattle herd in terms of genetics, and in that way we will be able to market good quality slaughterable cattle to Meatco while improving our livelihood,” the community said at the handover this week.
There are seven villages consisting of 77 households in the Omuramba area. The bulls are to be used by the whole Omuramba farming community and do not belong to any specific farmer.
“Because Omuramba is a communal set-up, the bulls won’t only serve the needs of those in whose care they have been placed, but the community at large. Through this initiative we hope to better the quality of the cattle within these communities to the benefit of both the community and Meatco,” said Patrick Liebenberg, Meatco’s Regional Procurement Manager for the Northern Communal Area (NCA).
As chosen by the community, the bulls have been placed in the care of community leaders Haitja Mbaandeka and Benstus Hungua. In addition, Meatco’s technical staff in the NCA will be involved in the implementation of this programme and will ensure the working bulls are well fed and kept healthy.
Patrick says plans are in the pipeline to grant bulls to other communal farms in areas north and south of the Veterinary Cordon Fence (VCF) for the same purposes.
“Now that the bulls have been allocated, farm leaders within the community will receive training with the aim of providing knowledge so that they are able to understand livestock production from a commercial sector perspective,” says Kingsley Kwenani, the Executive Officer for the Meatco Foundation.
The bulls are part of the Meatco Foundation’s “Sustainable Cattle Production in Namibia” initiative with the main objective to promote and support the improvement of socio-economic conditions in the rural livestock sector.
The Foundation does this through donor funding from the network organisation Solidaridad and Danish Coop. Implementing partners include Meatco and Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC). The project initially started last year and will run until 2015, with the total funding estimated at N$7.5 million for a period of three years.
According to Patrick there is a monitoring system in place to track the bull’s progress at Omuramba. “Our Meatco Procurement Officer in the Kunene Region will visit Omuramba often to find out how the bulls are serving the community. We also have an agreement with the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS). So in case the bulls get sick, the vet will be able to help in this regard,” he says.
Patrick adds that the bulls were selected based on criteria that looked at their temperament, age and their adaptability to the environment. The bulls were bought from the Wagner Bonsmara Breeders in Otjiwarongo.
The Meatco Foundation was established by the Meat Corporation of Namibia in April 2011 and it is governed by a Board of Trustees.
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