Oshakati abattoir back in business

Cattle in poor condition

11 October 2019 | Agriculture

The Oshakati abattoir, which was expected to provide relief to farmers in the northern communal areas (NCAs), has reopened but the quality of meat from local livestock is below the standard.

Sikunawa Tshiponga Negumbo, one of the executive directors of KIAT Investment Holdings, which has been awarded a tender to manage the Oshakati abattoir, says they are waiting for a certificate from the Meat Board of Namibia before they go fully commercial.

He says since the abattoir started operating about a month ago, farmers in the northern communal areas have been keen to market their cattle but the animals are in poor condition because of the drought.

There are other farmers south of veterinary cordon fence who are willing to supply higher-quality cattle, though.

“The abattoir has started operating. We have just obtained a good standing certificate from the Oshakati town council and now we are only waiting for a certificate from the Meat Board.

“The certificate from the Meat Board would enable us to slaughter cattle on a large scale and to sell the meat,” Negumbo said.

“At the moment we cannot slaughter on a larger scale because we do not have anywhere to sell due to certification. Before we get the certificate, the Directorate of Veterinary Services first has to conduct an audit of the abattoir.”

Negumbo said they have a lucrative market for meat and are only waiting for the certification.

He added that the Oshakati abattoir is export certified and all livestock must be quarantined before slaughtering.

“The abattoir has a capacity to slaughter 200 cattle per day. We are appealing to farmers to come on board and start selling their livestock. We will be going out to buy cattle ... and farmers are also welcome to bring their cattle, of which the price will be determined by carcass weight,” Negumbo said.

The coordinator of the Oshana Regional Livestock Marketing Cooperative, Kalimbo Ipumbu, blames the poor meat quality on cooperatives that were established in the NCAs to assist farmers but have not been doing their job.

“There are cooperatives established in Omusati, Oshikoto, Kavango, Oshana, Kunene and Ohangwena to help farmers improve their livestock quality. The cooperatives were supposed to use the available money to help farmers get better grazing,” said Kalimbo. The abattoir is sourcing livestock of good quality from south of the Red Line.

“We are not against this because we are fully aware that livestock in the NCA do not have the required meat quality.”

Meatco closed the Oshakati and Katima Mulilo abattoirs in 2016 after having incurred large losses for several years.