The Meatco Foundation, Meatco’s corporate social investment wing, has been supporting individuals and farmers' organisations to improve farming practices, especially in communal areas, focusing on the livestock sector. The Foundation undertook an inspection and assessment visit to the Omaheke and Otjozondjupa regions this month to see the impact of projects initiated by Meatco on the communities as well as identify other areas of need.
The first project the Foundation visited was a borehole project in the Peke-Peke area near Gam in the Otjozondjupa Region. Hundreds of cattle now have a watering point that also benefits well over 75 households. Prior to this, farmers would often travel long and arduous distances to reach a water point.
The farmers in the area, most of who produce for Meatco, share boreholes. The borehole is linked to a trough providing water for cattle and a separate tap for domestic use. The beneficiaries have formed water point communities to take responsibility for the management and maintenance of the water points.
The tanks and borehole are still in good condition, which is a good sign in terms of the sustainability of the borehole by community members.
According to Meatco Foundation’s Project Manager, Kuniberth Shamathe, water is essential for life and, as such, humans have always settled close to water sources. Unfortunately, in many communities water is scarce or contaminated. Providing a better water supply significantly improves the quality of life and is a source of socio-economic development.
The second project the Foundation visited during the trip was the Helena crush pen in the Omaheke Region. The crush pen is a result of a collaboration between the Meatco Foundation and Norwegian-based organisation, Unil.
The multi-purpose pen allows the community of Helena and surrounding areas not only to market their animals, but also to use it for other purposes like vaccinations. The community sees this development as a step in the right direction in terms of alleviating some of the problems farmers in the area experienced.
In Gam area, there are on-going discussions with the respective farmers associations and community members to establish a formal crush pen similar to the one at Helena. Such a crush pen would be a long-term investment in the rural community and would contribute to sustainable throughput for the Meatco abattoir.
On the day of the visit, the team found a permit day in progress, and Meatco purchased a good number of animals.
The Meatco Foundation will continue to support other cooperatives and farmers’ associations in a bid to improve capacity and service delivery to Namibian farmers.