Katima Mulilo abattoir facelift on cards

By Hilary Mare

THE Meat Board has started the process of appointing contractors responsible for the repairs, replacement and maintenance of equipment at the Katima Mulilo export abattoir.

The Government has granted an amount for this purpose and this project is jointly managed by consulting engineers of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication, the Meat Board and Meatco.

“The component that is given priority attention is the cooling systems of the abattoir. The appointment of the Meat Board was driven by factors that include mismanagement by the previous contractor, cost cutting and the need of beef producers from the Zambezi who have not had a formal market for marketing their products for the last 5 years.

”The aim is to start experimental slaughtering at the abattoir beginning February 2020.  With the regular occurrence of Foot-and-Mouth disease in this region, equipment is tested to cook beef products on a consumer acceptable basis that concurs with recommendations of the International Animal Health Organisation,” the Board said.

Meatco, which operated the abattoir as well the one in Oshakati, ceased operations in 2015 after losses of close to N$43 million. The financial strain compelled the company to shut down the abattoirs. Furthermore, they announced that they would not renew their contract with the government.

The agriculture ministry identified 2 private companies – Zambezi Meat Corporation and Kiat Investments – to operate both abattoirs.

Following a competitive analysis of the Namibian Meat Industry recently, the Meat Board also implored all stakeholders in the Namibian meat industry under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to meet to address the shortcomings and formulate new strategies to position the meat industry five years ahead.

The analysis was specifically the meat export value chains versus the livestock export value chains and versus major exporting countries of the world such as Uruguay, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

The study was conducted by Optimal Agricultural Business Systems, a group of reputable independent agricultural economists.

“Such an exercise to restore fundamentals in economic growth (GDP) is not new and occurs on a regular basis in most meat exporting nations. Areas to focus on should be the export of beef from north of the Veterinary Cordon Fence, developing the correct policy mix (strategies) to enhance local value addition without eroding the primary sector, and implementing a post drought recovery strategy, amongst others by not interfering with the market channel,” the Board said.

The study modelled the financial benefits to be accrued to the agricultural GDP if local slaughter and finishing of livestock could be achieved.

The study shows that an increase of 100 000 marketable animals in the NCA and a 10% carcass price increase, improved carrying capacity (10% increase in production) for NCA and SVCF and a shift from weaner production towards ox production could increase the livestock sector’s contribution to GDP by N$914 million, resulting in an increase of 23%.

“It is thus of crucial importance that beef produced in the NCA could be exported to financially viable markets and that the Green Scheme projects of AgriBusDev produce fodder for feedlot weaners in Namibia,” said the Board.