Oshakati abattoir to reopen soon

18 July 2019 | Agriculture

KIAT Investment Holdings, which has been awarded a tender to manage the Oshakati abattoir, says the plant will soon resume operations.

This will be a relief to farmers in the northern communal areas (NCAs) who have been without a market for their livestock amid a devastating drought.

In an interview with Namibian Sun this week, KIAT executive director Sikunawa Tshiponga Negumbo said renovations were complete and they would start buying livestock in three weeks' time. Negumbo said engineers from the agriculture and works ministries inspected the abattoir on Monday. “On Monday we were inspecting the whole building and today (Tuesday) we were inspecting the slaughtering process and facilities. We were told that everything is as we were promised it would be after renovation. We are thankful for what the government has done,” said Negumbo.

“We are now waiting for the contractor to hand the facility back to the ministry of works, which will hand it to the ministry of agriculture, which will hand it to us. This process will take about three weeks from today. From there we will start buying livestock from farmers.” The Oshakati and Katima Mulilo abattoirs were closed in 2016 after Meatco had incurred large losses for several years.

Negumbo said the Oshakati abattoir is export certified and all livestock must be quarantined before slaughtering. KIAT has started hiring staff, giving preference to former Meatco employees who were retrenched in 2016.

Since the closure, northern communal farmers have had to rely on a mobile slaughter unit and they are desperate to reduce their herds in the face of drought. “At first we will take up 70% of the employees who were retrenched. Others have to wait because we first have to see the reaction of the farmers before maximising the employment,” Negumbo said.

“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.

ILENI NANDJATO

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