Meatco, early in the year met with Livestock Producers Organisations (LPOs) to map out emergency strategies on the looming drought. Meatco agreed to increase emergency slaughter dates and called on farmers to bring in more cattle for slaughter. However, the past two months saw certain areas of Namibia receiving good rains and as a result many farmers have opted to keep their cattle to market later in the year. Meatco had already planned for the emergency bookings after many farmers cancelled their slaughter bookings due to good rains.
Meatco CEO Adv. Vekuii Rukoro, reiterated this message and strongly urged farmers to bring in their cattle for slaughter. Rukoro, explained that Meatco is geared up to assist producers to meet their demands in the event of emergency slaughters due to the threatening drought by keeping both factories Windhoek and Okahandja open simultaneously till August, although Windhoek was scheduled for routine maintenance and upgrade in March it continues to operate to accommodate farmers during these difficult times.
Rukoro, emphasized that while Meatco has re-strategize its operations for 2015 to ease the burden on the farmers due to drought, the farmers are in-fact doing the opposite by withholding their livestock for slaughter. “Meatco has now incurred additional costs for keeping the Windhoek factory open and recruiting contract workers, which is costly to the company as animals are just not coming in as anticipated”.
“Producers must bear in mind that short notice cancellations have severe impact on the efficiencies of Meatco factories. When they cancel at extreme short notice, it has severe cost implications for business, and at the end of the year it will translate into an impact on the producer prices”, added Rukoro.
Producers always advocate for better producer prices and Meatco on a daily basis strives towards this by constantly improving the value chain. Meatco continued to stabilise processes and improve efficiencies over the past year. However, when producers cancel at short notice, it hinders this progress greatly.
In April alone, Meatco received cancellation of more than 5000 animals, while in May slaughter scheduled for about 4500 animals was cancelled.
“We really want to call upon the producers that they must try to honour their contract agreements made with Meatco. The certainty of raw material for the factories is vital, as without reasonable certainty it will create complete chaos in successfully running a business”, Rukoro reiterated.
Farmers should keep in mind that the current rains may not carry them throughout the year, but only for a limited time. So even though they would like to increase the quality of their cattle now, the question is will their cattle still be in that condition by the time they get another slot?