Outapi abattoir struggling

Angola beef talks continue

16 May 2019 | Local News

The Namibian National Liberation Veterans Association (NNLVA), which operates the Outapi abattoir, says the facility cannot do much to assist farmers due to the lack of markets in the Northern Communal Areas (NCA).

Since it started operating in June last year, the facility has only slaughtered 34 cattle, principally because a butchery opened in Outapi this month. However, the NNLVA is confident that with the implementation of last year's national land conference resolution that government offices, ministries and agencies (OMAs) must consume locally produced produce, the abattoir will be used optimally in the future.

“The abattoir is struggling because we do not have a market for beef at the moment. Since we started operating, we have only been depending on slaughtering fees paid by individuals to use the abattoirs to supply meat to local retailers, as required by the health inspectors,” said NNLVA president Ben Shikongo.

“We are looking for a market and we are also encouraging the government to re-emphasise the land conference resolution, so that the business community and OMAs in the region support local abattoirs.”

Shikongo added that since they started they have managed to buy about 200 cattle from local farmers, but used to sell them on hoof because they have nowhere to sell the beef.

“This is a small number because we do not have an outside market and we only buy and sell cattle on the hoof to those having weddings or at open markets.

If we slaughter we have nowhere to sell the beef. This month we opened a butchery in Outapi and we have so far slaughtered 34 cattle (in total).

“Farmers can bring their cattle, but we always have disagreements on pricing. We have a scale we use to price them, depending on the weight and type, but in most cases they do not want to accept the price which is a main challenge; because of the drought most cattle are not well-fed,” said Shikongo.

He said even though they anticipate the implementation of the land conference resolution, the region is not ready.

He said even though a meat processing plant is being established at the Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) facility at Ongwediva, the Eenhana and Oshakati abattoirs are not yet complete.

Shikongo also refuted claims that the Outapi abattoir is buying livestock south of the Red Line.

He urged government officials who are making such claims to stop, saying they are tarnishing the good image of their operations.

He said there is no way they will buy meat south of the Red Line without government authorisation.



Angola beef talks

When the ministry of agriculture handed over the abattoir to NNLVA last year, Omusati governor Erginus Endjala said he was ready to facilitate talks with neighbouring Angola, which has over the years been demanding beef exports from the NCA.

Endjala said beef exports had failed to take off in the past, because of the lack of a proper beef value chain in the northern regions.

The growing Angolan demand for NCA beef was exacerbated by the closure of the Oshakati and Katima Mulilo abattoirs, which used to be operated by Meatco.

Shikongo said negotiations with Angola are ongoing, but look promising. He said when Virgilio Tyova, the new governor of the Angola's Cunene Province, visited Endjala in March, the issue was also discussed.

“The idea is still on and last year I went to, Ondjiva in Angola and I had a meeting with the president of their veterans and all coordinators from the Angolan provinces. We agreed that we need to come up with a memorandum of understanding, so that in future we can sell beef to Angola.

“The agreement was at an advanced stage but after they had change of governors, the agreement had to wait.

We have to reinstate the agreement again through the new governor, which is not a problem because when the new governor visited Omusati we had a discussion with his team in this regard,” Shikongo added.



ILENI NANDJATO