Producers Urged To Work Together In Challenging Times
08 Jul 2016
Reinie Rusch, who served as Chairman of the Board from 1988 to 2001, shared some words of advice with Meatco members at the recent AGM.
“Meatco was established to cater for the needs of producers by bringing factories from across the country together as one organisation. A challenge early on was to convince producers to deliver cattle to Meatco to generate a better income for themselves, which is made possible by running the factory at a certain capacity,” Rusch said.
He added that one of the core principles was to have every facility that Meatco owned accessible to all producers.
During his tenure, Rusch said Meatco became a highly competitive and successful company thanks to various aspects, including the rationalization of slaughter capacity by closing the abattoirs in Otavi and Gobabis, and shifting the focus to operations in Windhoek and Oshakati as well as upgrading the remaining capacity based on market requirements.
“The Swavleis brand was changed to Meatco to accommodate the European market. As is the case now, seeking niche markets was essential. It was really when we began packaging deboned meat and sending it to Europe that something special began,” Rusch said.
Over the years, marketing became more specialized and the business grew, and producers received a higher income from the EU.
In spite of most producers fetching higher prices, Rusch said the NCA was always a grey zone because only two facilities served such a vast area – an area that was prone to a host of challenges, including FMD outbreaks. Thus the Mobile Slaughter Unit is a step in the right direction to address this matter.
In conclusion, Rusch said that to remain successful, both producers and members must reach a common ground so that everyone can reap the benefits.
According to another former board member, Udo Düvel, it is important that every producer is part of the chain. “To ensure Meatco’s future, I hope the decision-makers are wise enough to opt for a producer-orientated business structure. Meatco producers must decide their own destiny otherwise we will follow in the footsteps of failed organisations, but on a much larger scale. Every Meatco producer – new or existing – must be a link in the chain. It is counterproductive to sit on the sidelines and criticize. I urge my fellow Namibian farmers to remain actively involved in Meatco and the industry in a constructive manner,” Duvel said.