Meatco Board Press Release – Okapuka Feedlot

29 Oct 2016

The Meatco Board wishes to inform and reassure the Namibian nation, farmers, producers and stakeholders that we are working tirelessly to resolve technicalities in respect of the closure of the Okapuka feedlot on 2 September 2016 by the Namibia Veterinary Authority (Directorate of Veterinary Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry).

The board has approached the potentially crippling impact the closed feedlot can have on the business, farmers, producers, the local meat industry, and regional and international markets in a responsible, unfettered and professional manner, with due consideration of all the risks and facts along with input from management, external experts, DVS and their counterpart, DG SANTE, in the EU.

Thanks to numerous consultations between the board and DVS, we can confirm that the feedlot conditionally re-opened on 30 September 2016 for slaughter and animal movement to and from the premises, including the marketing of feedlot products within the region and markets outside the EU.

We can also confirm that consultations are ongoing (on a daily basis) and we are confident that the matter will be resolved quickly, the imposed conditions lifted, and the products cleared for EU/international marketing. Additional sampling and testing by DVS and its EU-based and contracted laboratory is currently underway on both feed and urine.

DVS undertook to expedite the process and to provide screening results by 21 October 2016. We will provide our stakeholders and producers with updates on the outcome at an appropriate time.

We assure our stakeholders that Meatco did not deliberately administer Zeranol and/or its metabolics. Trace residues on two urine samples were in our informed opinion, caused by a chemical process within the animal’s rumen, triggered by the intake of naturally occurring Fusarium fungus in the feed.

While we will consult the industry on the reduction of the producer price, as a responsible corporate citizen we are bound to operate within the provisions of our enabling Act (Meatco Act 2001), local laws and statutes and that of our trading partner countries to ensure that our top quality Namibian beef not only meets but exceeds the requirements of the responsible authorities and by extension that of our customers.

Meatco’s Board of Directors