Meatco trims operations
Meatco has estimated financial losses through its operations to date to the tune of N$354 million, incurred largely through its support of abattoirs in the Northern Communal Areas.
This has prompted Meatco to seek a new business model to guarantee its presence in the Northern Communal Areas. Part of this new model revolves around mobile slaugher units for the communal areas.
Executive for Marketing and Sales Cyprianus Khaiseb, said that Meatco has a production schedule in place to manage their customers’ expectations at all times. “With low cattle numbers expected this year in particular, we need to manage our production schedules more effectively.” This refers mainly to Meatco suppliers in the commercial farming districts but throughput in the communal areas is just as impaired.
The new business model of mobile slaughter units intends to reduce overhead costs for the meat processor and most importantly bring the abattoir to the producer to reduce the long distances producers had to endure to deliver animals, Khaiseb explained in an earlier statement.
Meatco took over the management of the government-owned abattoirs at Oshakati and Katima Mulilo in 1991/2 from the National Development Corporation (NDC). However, the management agreement was converted into a commercial lease agreement for the lease of the said facilities in 2011 at a cost to Meatco. This prompted Meatco to reconsider its lease agreement with the government. As a result the lease agreement was not renewed Khaiseb further explained.
Meatco Communications Officer Neu-Nique Rittmann in response to the Economist said that operations in the Northern Communal Areas are a statutory obligation. As such the new business model of mobile slaughter units is tailored to the unique circumstances of communal producers in the Northern Communal Areas and aims to bring slaughtering services closer to farmers.
“In this way Meatco continues to maintain its statutory obligation and also addresses operational losses which have accrued in running the northern abattoirs which was not economical or efficient as prescribed by the Act” Rittmann said.
The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Hon John Mutorwa, recently ordered as a matter of urgency and in national interest, the implementation of a project to create quarantine feedlots in the Northern Communal Areas at places such as Oshivelo, Kavango-Mangetti Cattle Ranch, Omutambo Maowe, Okongo and Kopano.
The end goal is to create a market for slaughter-ready animals and to improve their grading from C to A or B through the Directorate of Veterinary Science, the Department of Agricultural Production’s Extension and Engineering Services and the Meat Board.
Meanwhile, Meatco Chief Executive Officer Adv. Vekuii Rukoro also said that the habit of not honouring delivery agreements would have disastrous consequences for our marketing opportunities in the lucrative EU markets.
“Therefore farmers are urged to work closely with their procurement officer to notify us well in advance if they want to cancel their slaughter slots so that we remain in a position to develop alternatives that will mitigate potential disruptions”.
He added that a “No-show” creates a problem, as most of the time the booked cattle cannot be filled up in time with cattle from other producers.
This situation can potentially cause fellow producers losing slaughter space to a “no-show” producer in peak times.”