Meatco, Unam sign research agreement
23 February 2021 | Agriculture
Meatco and the University of Namibia (Unam) have signed a five-year agreement on training, research and innovation.
The purpose of the agreement, which was signed last week, is to promote the achievement of each party’s respective mandates while contributing to the economic growth of Namibia.
Unam vice-chancellor Professor Kenneth Matengu said the livestock sector contributes around 3.5% to the country’s gross domestic product. He said the university supports the agricultural sector, as the country supplies meat to niche markets in Europe, America and China.
“We venture, as a university, to provide capacity through training and research to ensure that the human resources that will be the employees in this sector are of a high standard. And we recognise Meatco as a meat processing and marketing institution with a premium value-added and competitive brand.”
Matengu added that the university owns training, research and experimentation facilities such as Neudamm and Ogongo, which will allow it to support extension services.
Through this agreement, the individuals trained at these facilities will work closely with Meatco, he said.
“The university also has a programme in Katima Mulilo for animal health and there are seven academic veterinarians who respond to diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease through research and innovation.”
Key wealth creator
Meatco’s CEO, Mwilima Mushokabanji, said the agricultural sector is a key wealth creator and, through the African Union Agenda 2063’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, the future and direction of the sector on the continent is unpacked.
In advanced economies, serious and consistent investment in research and development has led to economic wealth, especially through the symbiotic relationship between the industry and universities.
“From a Meatco perspective and as an implementor, we are concerned about profitability, competitiveness and the sustainability of the sector at large. However, we cannot drive these aspects without continuous interaction with universities like Unam that have the responsibility of conducting extensive scientific research. We are privileged to associate ourselves with the university because it has one of the most skilled agricultural faculties in Namibia.”
Mushokabanji said due to their business model of operating abattoirs and recently starting to operate the Rundu abattoir, it is critical that they work closely with the university’s veterinarians.
He added that with research and development, they should be able to address any industry issues.
“We are proud and are looking forward to this partnership, as it will also enable us to invest in capacity-building by sending our farmers to the university’s various training facilities for short training courses on sustainable farm-related aspects.”
A committee will be established to oversee the implementation of the agreement and the evaluation of its progress, he said.