01 Aug 2013 08:10
ONGWEDIVA, 31 JULY (NAMPA) The Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco) is trying to assist farmers in the northern communal areas (NCA) by buying even lean cattle from them so they can reduce the volumes of their livestock in this ongoing drought situation.
The companys regional procurement manager in the NCA, Patrick Liebenberg, said this during a media excursion to the NCA on Monday and Tuesday.
Journalists were on Monday also taken to a farm of one of Meatcos producers, Abisai Shikongo. The farm is situated in the Okatope area of the Mangetti farming land in the Oshikoto Region.
Lean cattle bought from farmers in the NCA, particularly in the Kunene Region, were at hand at the Meatco kraals at Oshakati, awaiting slaughtering for beef production at the companys Oshakati Abattoir on Tuesday.
Liebenberg said the meat of lean cattle is used to produce cooked beef and/or sausages. By buying as many cattle from farmers as possible, Meatco is heeding the governments call for farmers in the country to be assisted to reduce the volumes of their livestock due to the ongoing drought situation this year.
Some farmers, however, accused Meatco of paying little for their cattle. It was demonstrated during the visit to Shikongos farm that Meatco is prepared to pay only N.dollars 880 for a young ox weighing 244kg.
This is discouraging to farmers, and makes them reluctant to sell their cattle for a give-away price. Thus, Meatco needs to offer the farmers better prize, said Shikongo, who is viewed to be one of the best producers in the NCA.
However, Liebenberg charged that Meatco is unable to offer a higher price due to enormous operational costs the company incurs in terms of its procurement officers travel to farms in the fields, where they buy cattle before taking them to abattoirs.
Liebenberg noted that a farmer can get a better price on cattle of good quality by transporting his/her cattle on his/her own costs to the abattoirs.