26 Oct 2014 17:50pm
WINDHOEK, 26 OCT (NAMPA) The long-term sustainability of livestock producers will come under threat when the new Chinese export abattoir opens for business in the Tsumeb-Otavi area.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco) Vekuii Rukoro, revealed this during the 2014 producers awards held here on Friday evening.
'There are plans for the Chinese to erect an export abattoir in the Tsumeb/Otavi region. Chinese value-addition of Namibian cattle creates overcapacity in the slaughter space and competing with producers, who have shareholding in Meatco of whom 60 to 70 per cent are communal farmers.
'This is an example of a divergent vision for the industry and the type of decision-making that can tear our sector apart. These are the type of threats we should be looking at, and asking questions if we are to ensure the long-term sustainability of our way of lives, as farmers,' he warned.
Farmers need a stable company like Meatco, as the company has a reasonable degree of control over access to raw material as well as a certainty about the consistency of quality raw material, according to Rukoro.
He noted that Meatco will build only a few facilities and will occasionally lease one or two farms through a 'backwards-integration-initiative'. Meatco has no plans to buy and own farms as it does not intend to become a cattle producer, Rukoro noted.
He assured farmers that they will continue to be the sole suplliers of raw material for both Meatcos factories and feedlots.
Turning to the Norwegian beef quota issue, Rukoro said considering the Namibian beef industry as a unit was a step in the right direction. He noted that the results have benefitted the entire industry as well as the economy and not a few privileged individual shareholders.
'For us, this is only the beginning. There are still many improvements to be made in the Namibian beef value chain, such as areas which are inefficient and in some places simply ineffective. But let the reallocated Norway quota serve as an example of how things can be if we come together and make the right decision based on fair and objective criteria that can stand up to public scrutiny, he added.