Meatco and Namibian red meat industry 'at critical crossroad'

21 Jun 2013 12:00
WINDHOEK, 21 JUN (NAMPA) ? The Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco)?s Board Chairperson, Clara Bohitile on Friday said Meatco and the Namibian red meat industry are at a critical crossroad.
Bohitile was speaking at Meatco?s 27th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in the capital.
She outlined in the corporation's annual report that the environment in which Meatco operates continues to become more and more challenging.
?Never before has the need for all stakeholders to engage in order to maintain a viable and sustainable industry in the country been greater,? she indicated.
The declining trend in slaughter cattle to Meatco continued in the year under review, with the lowest number of cattle slaughtered in the company?s history - 107 186, compared to 120 274 slaughtered in the previous year.
Meatco says it once again however paid out the highest producer prices in the organisation's history, at an average of N.dollars 26,35 per kilogramme, despite the low cattle numbers.
Bohitile explained that to counter the declining cattle trend, Meatco continued with various backwards integration initiatives including the feedlot, Ekwatho financing scheme, veldlotting and using Meatco-owned cattle.
?The resilience of the Namibian producer will be tested to its limits in the coming months and years, particularly now that the country is going through the harshest drought ever in 14 years,? the Meatco Board Chairperson said.
Speaking at the same event, former Meatco Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kobus du Plessis said various key strategies implemented during the past seven years played a major role in Meatco being able to deliver a good overall performance under the most challenging of conditions.
Comparing the organisation to international benchmarks such as the World Beef Report and South African Red Meat Abattoir Association (RMAA) prices, Du Plessis said Meatco has performed competitively despite the very low volume throughput.
During the AGM a new Board of Directors was also nominated by Meatco members for appointment by the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa.
The new Board of Directors, whose names will be made known at a later stage, will lead the organisation for the next three years.
The current Board of Directors comprises Bohitile as chairperson; Martin Hilbert as vice-chairperson; Ripanda Meroro as the communal producers? representative; and Arne Gressmann as the commercial producers? representative.
Other members are Paulina Kujandeka as the employee representative; Sophia Kasheeta as Government?s representative as well as co-opted board member Matthew Shikongo.