LPO concerned about Meatco resignations

Situation negatively impacts confidence in company

02 June 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT







WINDHOEK

The Livestock Producers Organisation (LPO) has expressed concern with regards to the current situation at Meatco following the resignation of three of its board members over the weekend.

Meatco board chairperson Johnnie Hamman, vice chairperson Clara Bohitile and board member Kay-Dieter Rumpf resigned from the board citing “material unreconciled differences with the company’s management and its other board members”.

Their resignations followed after the board held a substantive board meeting last Thursday.

Chairperson of the LPO, Thinus Pretorius, said the cattle industry is a key contributor to the total agricultural production in Namibia.

He said this sector contributes - on average - about 45% of the total agricultural production value, making it by far the most important sub-sector.

“The value created has led to greater employment opportunities, the stabilisation and maintenance of rural economies, and thus the restriction of rural to urban migration.”

Pretorius said an unstable and unsustainable cattle industry will result in the loss of livelihood for especially rural individuals, and a loss of disposable income for rural communities will in turn have a detrimental effect on the country’s gross domestic product.

Negative impact

“Recent series of events at our national export facility, Meatco, has impacted negatively on the overall confidence in the management's ability to turn Meatco around as a competitive, sustainable enterprise.”

Pretorius said producers are the main stakeholders in the value chain and without their support, the value chain will collapse, employment and tax revenues will be lost, livelihoods will be negatively impacted, and this will ultimately have a negative multiplier effect on the rural and urban economy.

“The LPO is very concerned about the resultant implications this could have.”

Public enterprises minister Leon Jooste appointed the current board of directors in terms of the Meat Corporation of Namibia Act on 1 May 2020 for a term of three years.

Their resignations follow less than two months after the announcement by Meatco’s CEO Mwilima Mushokabanji that all employees aged 55 and over will be retrenched.

It included three top executives with decades of experience in the meat industry. They are former chief operating officer Jannie Breytenbach, former executive manager for marketing and sales André Mouton as well as George Kotze, who as an executive manager was responsible for livestock production and value addition.