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Mentorship grows fat cattle

Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon. Bernard Esau took it upon himself to audit his cattle herd for traceability.

Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon. Bernard Esau took it upon himself to audit his cattle herd for traceability.

The Meatco mentorship programme for farmers in the Northern Communal Areas achieves two key objectives. It enables communal farmers to have market access for their cattle and it contributes to Meatco total volume of red meat produced in a year.
The mentorship programme aims to educate and train communal producers on animal health, sustainable farming practices and slaughter ox production. The same mentorship is provided for emerging and communal livestock producers south of the Veterinary Cordon Fence.
Moses Kandjoze, Procurement Officer for the Windhoek and the central region says that mentorship has become central to Meatco’s procurement function. This is especially true when dealing with emerging and communal producers, although the circumstances between the two producer groups may differ.
Moses has been mentoring Meatco producers for more than four years. “The primary goal is to help producers to get them on the right track regarding viable and sustainable farming practices. The secondary is to enhance production to comply with the world class quality requirements that Meatco’s premium export markets demand.”
It’s about sustainability he says. Farming is a business of many facets and it’s about striking a balance between these many facets to make sure that producers are in a position to sustainably deliver cattle. “For that to happen the correct systems and practices need to be in place and we are happy to assist.”
Meatco expects its Procurement Officers to look at producers’ production systems and to aid and advise them on opportunities for improvement. Procurement Officers also assist producers in developing slaughter ox production systems, if the producer is so inclined.
One of the recent beneficiaries of Meatco’s mentorship programme is emerging livestock producer and the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon. Bernard Esau and his wife Suoma. Moses assisted the Esau couple with getting all their cattle registered on the Namibian Livestock Traceability (NamLITS) system after which they conducted a herd statement audit. “We had to round up all the cattle and check their ear tags one by one to ensure that they appear on the herd statement provided by NamLITS. We detected a couple of animals that were missing and double-checked with NamLITS to make sure everything was correct. We then did a clean sweep on the farm and repeated the herd statement audit. Luckily, we found some of the animals and noticed that some have died as well,” says Moses.
They also spent time organising the cattle herd, separating and regrouping them according to age, breed and class to ensure that feeding patterns in the cattle groups are similar to ensure optimum grazing management. To keep the animals in their separate groupings, the internal fences on the farm were identified as infrastructure in need of repair. This is currently being addressed by Esau.

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