Schlettwein hits out at Meatco’s poor performance

Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Minister Calle Schlettwein has called out the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco) for poor performance, which he attributed to the emergence of a private abattoir because of its inability to provide a lucrative market for farmers.

The Minister’s comments come after the establishment of Savanna Beef Processors, which is being spearheaded by the Beef Value Chain Forum (BVCF), a grouping of over 600 farmers that has set a N$300-million target to invest in a private sector-led multimillion-dollar beef export processing plant in the country.

"Meatco has the biggest abattoirs, but they are failing to run the entity and provide a competitive price to our farmers. Because of this, farmers have come together to establish their own where they can get better returns. Now this is a task to the planning team, to answer and figure out what should be done because resources are being pumped into a limping organisation, which is costly," said Schlettwein while addressing the ministry’s staff on Monday.

This, he added, was a clear indication that the institution is in the Intensive Care Unit, unable to carry its operations optimally, and as a result it's becoming a liability through wasted financial resources and time.

"Apart from the Katima Mulilo abattoir which is now up and running after being completely shut down for some time, the rest are in the mortuary, dead. At least the Meat Board of Namibia stepped in to revive the Katima Abattoir and hand it back to Meatco, as it is now being run as a Commodity Based Trade, and now able to supply meat the Southern part of the country and abroad," he said.

Schlettwein added that for his ministry to play its role as contributor to the country's GDP, there is need for new policies that allow partnerships with private entities to run the abattoirs under the ministry's strict supervision.

"The upkeep of animal and plant health is the basis for market access for Namibia’s livestock and agronomic products to lucrative international and regional markets. Thus, as a matter of high priority, mandatory annual farm inspections in the commercial areas, annual vaccination campaigns in the infected and protection zones and monitoring assessments for pest control must be carried out timeously, while maintaining the agility to respond to disease and pest outbreaks," he advised.

Further emphasising that regular assessment for implementation of an effective barrier for animal disease control must be accelerated and concluded.

He added that due to the ministry's pro-activeness, the government was able to contain outbreaks of various serotypes of Foot-and-Mouth Disease and other infectious diseases, leading to a vaccination of over 234,000 cattle in the Infected Zone and about 245,062 cattle in high-risk areas of the Protection Zone.

"A total number of 1,113,687 cattle were vaccinated annually against diseases in the Northern Communal Areas, while about 295,810 animals (dogs and cats) were vaccinated against Rabies over the same calendar year. It’s because of these responsive interventions, Namibia is able to export meat almost everywhere in the world," stressed Schlettwein.

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Last modified on Monday, 30 January 2023 20:03

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