The Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco) has decided to not renew its lease agreement with the government and will launch a new business model for operations in the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs) that implements a mobile slaughter unit.
According to a press release, since taking over government owned abattoirs at Oshakati and Katima Mulilo in the 1991/2 from the National Development Corporation (NDC), Meatco has incurred N$354 million operational losses.
In the 2014/2015 financial year, Meatco saw N$43million in operational losses and incurred N$12,9 million of losses up to the end of December 2015 as a result of overhead costs even what its abattoirs were closed due to Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). With the expectation of losses growing to N$53 million in 2016, Meatco has decided to alter its operations.
In order to curb operational costs as well as to maintain its statutory obligation, Meatco’s “new business model (Mobile Slaughter Unit) is tailored to the unique circumstances of our communal producers in the NCAs and aims to bring slaughtering services closer to farmers in the NCAs.”
Within the new model, Meatco will introduce a mobile slaughter unit that will travel to farms and villages.
Meatco emphasized that this will lower the amount of transport costs, create local employment, stimulate local entrepreneurship, allow for operational flexibility, open up the opportunity to deploy the unit to areas south of the Veterinary Cordon Fence in case of future FMD outbreaks, and develop the opportunity for game slaughtering during the season.
Meatco says that there will also be a, “Reduction of operational costs as the cost of the mobile slaughter unit will be a fraction of the current fixed abattoirs.”
Reconising the need to for NCA’s farmers to resume marketing of livestock “after the double-sword of drought and FMD outbreak in 2015”, Meatco will hold a meeting of the meat industry on 10 February 2016 which will address new rules of marketing livestock after the FMD outbreak as well as markets for NCA beef.
After this meeting, Meatco will resume buying cattle from the NCA and says that it is working on re-deploying staff who had worked fulltime in the NCA and are affected by the new business model.