China saves Oshakati abattoir

Oshakati's Eloolo abattoir was reopened yesterday after a Chinese company injected the necessary capital to bail out the Namibian operator.

13 November 2020 | Agriculture

TUYEIMO HAIDULA

OSHAKATI



Ningbo Agriculture Investment Group, a Chinese-owned company, has partnered with a local company to be in charge of the second largest abattoir in the country at Oshakati.

Eloolo abattoir was reopened by agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein yesterday. The abattoir, along with the one at Katima Mulilo, closed in 2016 after Meatco withdrew from the northern communal areas.

The abattoir reopened in July last year but closed again when Kiat Investment Holding, which had won the tender to run it, found itself in financial trouble. Kiat has now partnered with Ningbo for financial support. Schlettwein said the reopening of the abattoir highlights the government's efforts in the beef value chain in northern Namibia, which had been disrupted by Meatco's withdrawal.

“Therefore, the opening and operationalisation of the abattoir ushers in a great relief to farmers in the northern communal areas (NCA) who could not formally market their cattle since 2016 due to these challenges. The upliftment of livestock farmers in the northern communal areas is dependent on the participation of farmers in the formal/mainstream economy,” Schlettwein said.



Government intervention

He also used the platform to announce that the government had renovated the Outapi, Oshakati, Eenhana and Katima Mulilo abattoirs, while the Rundu Abattoir is being upgraded and is nearing completion.

Schlettwein said the government was also rehabilitating the quarantine camps at Omutambo Omawe, Oshivelo, Okongo, Kopano and Katima Mulilo.

“Furthermore, the government is planning to upgrade Opuwo Slaughter House, and construct the Bukalo Meat Processing Facility, both of which will be funded through the European Development Fund (EDF) 11 Project. Moreover, the government is currently constructing the Ongwediva Meat Processing Plant, and the only outstanding work is to equip the facility with processing machinery and other equipment,” he said.

For these efforts to yield the required results, Schlettwein said farmers would have to commit to produce and market quality animals to ensure optimal throughput of these facilities, which had been a problem in the past.

Equally, he said the operators of these facilities need to offer farmers better prices for their animals.



Chinese interest

Ningbo Agriculture Investment Group representative Zhuang Caizeng said the company's investment in agriculture and animal husbandry in Namibia is a good opportunity for the people of the two countries.

“The people of Zhejiang, China, need cattle and mutton to purchase, and the people of Namibia need to sell cattle and mutton.

“As Ningbo company, we have confidence that together with the agriculture ministry we will export northern Namibia's cattle and mutton to China, increase foreign exchange reserves for the country, and bring many job opportunities to the people,” he said. The current capacity of the abattoir per day is 70 head of cattle. Caizeng said they wanted to increase it to 250.

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