Meatco, UNAM enter training and research agreement
Meatco and the University of Namibia recently signed a five-year agreement to cooperate and engage in training, research and innovation activities that will promote the achievement of both party’s respective mandates.
The five-year agreement will moreover enable both parties to venture into the investment of capacity building by sending Meatco’s farmers to the university’s various training facilities for short training courses on sustainable farm-related aspects.
At the signing ceremony, UNAM Vice-Chancellor Professor Kenneth Matengu said the university supports the agricultural sector, as the country supplies meat to niche markets in Europe, America and China.
“We venture, as a university, to provide capacity through training and research to ensure that the human resources that will be the employees in this sector are of a high standard. And we recognise Meatco as a meat processing and marketing institution with a premium value-added and competitive brand. The university has over the years built its capacity and networks to respond to the needs of our partners and stakeholders such as Meatco,” Matengu said.
Meatco owns training, research and experimentation facilities such as Neudamm and Ogongo, which will allow it to support extension services. Through this agreement, the individuals trained at these facilities will work closely with Meatco. The university also has a programme in Katima Mulilo for animal health and there are seven academic veterinarians who respond to diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease through research and innovation.
Meatco’s Chief Executive Officer, Mwilima Mushokabanji, said while they are concerned about profitability, competitiveness and the sustainability of the sector at large, they cannot drive these aspects without continuous interaction with universities like UNAM that have the responsibility of conducting extensive scientific research.
“Due to our business model of operating abattoirs and recently going to start operating the Rundu abattoir, it is critical that we work closely with your veterinarians, for example, to assist us in dealing with difficult pertinent industry-related issues such as climate change, a phenomenon affecting the industry currently. With research and development, we should be able to address any industry issues,” Mushokabanji said.
A committee will be established to oversee the implementation and progress of the agreement.