Meatco and producers should stand together: Rukoro

19 Jun 2013 07:10
WINDHOEK, 19 JUN (NAMPA) - Meatco and its producers have to stand together more than ever to survive and to ensure a ?thriving tomorrow? for the industry, Meatco?s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Vekuii Rukoro said on Tuesday.
Rukoro was quoted in the Meat Corporation of Namibia?s (Meatco) latest newsletter issued on Tuesday, in which he reiterated Meatco?s ?open-door policy?.
?While producers may not be happy with the effect the current drought and price cycle have on producer prices, it is important to appreciate that these are tough times.
Today, the prices are not so good. This is not because Meatco has decided not to pay producers well, but simply because we?ve been hit by a double-whammy,? he noted.
Rukoro said firstly, the industry is going through the normal seasonal cycle of falling prices because of cattle supply outstripping demand, and secondly, the country is hit by a drought.
Namibia is experiencing the worst drought in the last 30 years, which has resulted in huge livestock losses and human suffering.
Currently, there are more cattle coming into the market and less consumer demand for meat, which has resulted in a price collapse.
Rukoro expressed concern that the effect of the drought on pricing is that the condition of the cattle has worsened.
The carcasses Meatco receives now are in a worse condition compared to previous years, and the corporation cannot pay the same prices for these carcasses.
Prices are not determined by Meatco, but by market forces in South Africa and Europe. These market forces comprise of the buying activity of consumers who decide whether they want to buy meat or not, and what they are willing to pay depending on the condition of the meat.
Rukoro said Meatco has throughout the years paid their producers fair prices, and certainly far better prices than they could have ever obtained in one of the leading markets in the region, namely South Africa.
?We are able to sell our meat in overseas markets and the result of this is the benefit of the exchange rate when it is good, like it is now. This benefit is ultimately channeled down to benefit our producers,? he said.
The Meatco chief commended the corporation?s producers for the important role they play in ensuring, not only the company?s success but also, the Namibian beef industry as a whole.
Rukoro added that the Meatco management and board both remain open for civilised dialogue on possible changes to the current price formula and through consensus to come up with a workable and viable replacement which will serve the long-term interests of both Meatco and its producers.