Meatco works towards inclusivity

Meatco reached out to weekend farmers and members of the Namibia Emerging Commercial Farmers Union at its latest stakeholder engagement meeting.

23 September 2020 | Agriculture

STAFF REPORTER

WINDHOEK



Meatco hosted a stakeholder engagement meeting with mainly weekend farmers and members of the Namibia Emerging Commercial Farmers Union (NECFU) last week.

These farmers are usually unable to attend Meatco's farmers liaison meetings that take place in various regions across the country.

According to Meatco, the farmers are also often not engaged enough by the company's management, which has the mandate to create effective communication platforms and continuously engage all Namibian farmers.

At the meeting, Meatco CEO Mwilima Mushokabanji pointed out that the agricultural sector has evolved from the way it operated 20 to 30 years ago.

He added that the contribution of agriculture to the country's gross domestic product has gradually declined from 1990 because production has been affected.



'Agriculture is the backbone'

“More than 70% of Namibia's population are rural dwellers and these are the Namibians who directly or indirectly depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, impressing how agriculture is the backbone of the Namibian economy,” Mushokabanji said.

Meatco's executive for livestock production and value-addition, George Kotze, shared the company's plans to get involved in helping producers improve the quality and quantity of their animals to secure the national herd and throughput.

Platforms such as night school will be developed to address issues of concern, such as feed and pasture management.

Meanwhile, the executive of the Meatco Foundation, Kuniberth Shamathe, said the foundation is involved in providing input regarding the Red Line and how the regulations around it can be successfully coordinated for the benefit of all farmers.

He said zoning of areas in the Northern Communal Area (NCA) will open lucrative markets and allow farmers to access markets through selling their animals both in the NCA abattoirs and south of the Veterinary Cordon Fence (SVCF).



Special purpose vehicle

Meatco NCA subsidiary CEO, Kingsley Kwenani, highlighted the importance of the company as a special purpose vehicle targeted at dealing with animal quality and market-related problems as well as training and supporting farmers in the NCA to bring them to the same level of commercial farmers SVCF.

The NCA has 1.6 million animals and with the right policies, it can contribute to the growth of the Namibian meat industry both internationally and locally, he said.

Furthermore, Meatco's northern livestock production manager, Patrick Liebenberg, urged farmers to pull together to sustain the agricultural sector.

“As an industry, we should fight to keep slaughter-ready animals within Namibian borders and avoid them leaving on the hoof for South Africa,” he said.



Informative meeting

NECFU president, Dr Ndahafa Nghifindaka-Tjiuongua, expressed her gratitude to Meatco for organising the informative meeting.

She highlighted that the union has not been receiving adequate support from the industry, although it registered in 2008.

“I cannot stress enough that the reason we registered as a union is to be organised because recognition can only be achieved through an organised structure, and this is what NECFU represents,” she said.

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