Meatco ships NCA beef to West Africa

Exploring new markets

16 September 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

Meatco recently sent a first consignment of beef from the Northern Communal Areas (NCA) to the West African market.

The company says it is optimistic that 2021 will yield positive results for its sustainability, despite challenges with throughput.

Throughput remained a big challenge for Meatco in 2020, especially after the devastating drought in 2019, but this year started off very promising due to good rains received in all parts of the country.

Meatco's CEO, Mwilima Mushokabanji, said this in his business update for the first and second quarters of 2021.

He said the good rains meant that farmers restocked their core herds, making throughput of slaughter-ready animals relatively low.

Strategies were put in place as per their Integrated Business Plan of 2021/2026 to ensure that they remain robust and streamline the value chain to ensure consistent supply throughput.

“This led to facilitating key engagements with our top producers at various platforms, introducing them to our new procurement streams as well as engagements with government in a quest to create a conducive policy environment for the livestock industry.”

Mushokabanji said one of the successful engagements they had with the government was bringing cattle from the FMD-free zone of Botswana for the local market.

Europe

Further agreements were reached to export cattle to Britain and South Africa under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) preferential tariff, provided the meat undergoes working and processing, he said.

Mushokabanji said that as Europe is slowly reopening, they are witnessing an increased demand for beef.

“Many European importers have been nervous to import unless already pre-sold, as the hospitality industry has been opened and closed, often in most cases with little to no warning.”

He said they are seeing good prices on round cuts and items such as picanha and rump tails and while main steaks are recovering it has yet to climb back to normal levels because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, in the United States market there is demand for grass-fed, hormone-free beef as local prices are high.

“Meatco is currently focusing on acquiring new clients in the USA to engage more interest in our product.”

He said the Chinese market remains well on track, with the demand predominantly being for boneless and bone-in cuts, making it Meatco’s most lucrative market.

According to Mushokabanji, Meatco opened and started operating the Katima Mulilo Abattoir.

He explained that it is government owned and funded as part of their business strategy of creating markets for Namibian farmers in the NCA who have been without a legitimate and sustainable market for over a decade.

He said that on 31 August they signed a contract with the Ghanaian client from A&G Agro Systems and shipped the first consignment of beef to the West African market, which will be sustained with beef from the NCA.