Meatco transforms livestock sourcing technique

By Hilary Mare

MEATCO has undergone transformation in its livestock production and value addition department where it has introduced agriculture extension and advisory services to better equip farmers with systems that are in line with what the market demands.

One of the major changes will be the introduction of night classes and producer forums for farmers where Meatco under this department will assist farmers. This multi-disciplinary approach through workshops, mentoring and advisory services by collaborating with key players in the agricultural industry, will enable Namibian farmers to revive the livestock sector again. 

Percy Misika, Executive Director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform whose speech was read on his behalf by the deputy director of agriculture, Erich Petrus at the launch of Meatco’s agriculture extension and advisory services last week highlighted that this initiative comes at an opportune time when the agricultural sector is faced with varying challenges influenced by natural calamities such as climate change, animal diseases, recurrent droughts and floods.

“Critical to Meatco’s success is throughput and market realisation. In this regard, Meatco is implementing a strategy for livestock production and value addition that will focus on paying competitive prices to the producers and render an integrated bouquet of services to communal, emerging and commercial farmers.

“Meatco has adopted a market-driven livestock production system, where it will capacitate farmers to improve their livestock production systems in-line with market demand and changing weather patterns. The Meatco agriculture advisory and extension service programme will provide extension services, advise and training in collaboration with the ministry to align livestock production systems to market demand,” he said.

Confidente understands that government has issued a Guarantee of N$250 million to afford Meatco to borrow funds from the Development Bank of Namibia to procure cattle from livestock farmers in Namibia.

Cabinet has also approved Meatco to operate the Rundu Abattoir to improve market access for the producers in the Northern Communal areas in Africa and the Middle East through the application of the Commodity Based Trade Protocol.

“The sector is recovering after the devastating 2019 drought, and as such the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform cannot do it alone and therefore, requires a concerted effort and strategic partnerships with research and extension institutions, farmers unions, regulators, financial institutions and the non-state actors to invest in research and disseminate information on a timely and use of appropriate extension methods.

“The Ministry is therefore encouraging the livestock producers to take part in this initiative of Meatco to strengthen their farming practices and livestock production systems in order to respond to the changing economy and climate change,” extended Misika.

To this end, Confidente has been informed that the department that will now be referred to as Livestock Production and Value Addition and it will have a senior manager who is responsible for agriculture, extension and advisory services. This function will be taken over by Abrie van Wyk while Patrick Liebenberg will oversee overall livestock procurement of the cattle whether commercial or communal.

According to Meatco CEO Mushokobandji Mwilima, his strategic focus is to make the organisation competitive and agile. 

There are also plans underway to re-open the Grootfontein, Otjiwarongo and Gobabis offices in order for producers to have easy access to Meatco again.