Water shortages keep Okahandja abattoir closed

01 Jun 2016 11:20am
WINDHOEK, 01 JUN (NAMPA) – The Meat Corporation of Namibia’s (Meatco) Okahandja abattoir is likely to remain closed until the end of this year if water restrictions in central Namibia due to the drought continue.
Communications specialist at Meatco, Neu-nique Rittmann said in the company’s latest newsletter issued on Tuesday whether it slaughters one animal or 100 head of cattle, the water consumption remains the same.
“We decided to close one of our plants and run production at full capacity. The Windhoek plant closed from September 2015 until end January 2016, and upon reopening in February, the Okahandja abattoir was closed and will likely remain so until the end of the year. We are continuously looking at ways to reduce water consumption.
She said a practice like deep cleaning - a type of washing where food contact areas in the abattoirs are cleaned with excessive amounts of water - was identified as a major consumer of water.
“While it is a critical hygienic process, we are currently reviewing how efficiently water is used here,” she stated.
Previous media reports speculated that the closure of the abattoir would lead to job losses, but it was denied by the company. More than 200 employees are commuting between Windhoek and Okahandja following the closure of the Okahandja plant.
Since 2011, Meatco has put various water saving measures in place, and the company says it will continue to investigate other ways to increase savings. Its target is to save up to 50 per cent of water per day - a goal that is managed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, Rittmann said.
Meatco has a water committee which comprises managers, operations staff and the communications department.
Rittmann said the water saving strategies are not just quick fix solutions but are seen as long-term initiatives.
“However, in many cases any further limitations may have a negative impact on production capacity. For example, in Meatco’s case, we have to comply with European Union (EU) hygiene rules and regulations,” she said.