RUNDU – Kavango East Farmers Union chair Adolf Muremi has said with the second trial slaughter completed, the expectation from the farming community is that the abattoir will serve their market demands and hopes it will not take long for Meatco to start operating at the optimum level.
The facility has cost taxpayers over N$110 million.
The ministry of agriculture, through the directorate of veterinary services, on Tuesday held their second trial slaughter to determine if all machinery is fully functional. At the first trial slaughter last year, Meatco highlighted a few glitches to iron out.
We have been working on those (including the slaughter line, administration office and finalising the waste disposal system).
“Today, 22 November, we had our second trial slaughter; we will wait for reports from the region as to whether the facility is ready or not. Thereafter, should everything be in order as per the recommendations of the operator, we will arrange for commissioning, and we will hand over the facility to the operator, Meatco,” said the agriculture ministry’s spokesperson Jona Musheko.
The long-awaited facility will serve as a market for cattle and goat farmers in the two Kavango regions.
The abattoir was supposed to be fully completed by January 2017 after the groundbreaking was done in 2014, but financial constraints and postponements delayed the process.
The slaughter capacity of the Rundu abattoir is expected to be at least a minimum of 80 cattle per day, aimed to enhance the cattle and beef value chain in the northern communal areas (NCAs), specifically in Kavango East and Kavango West regions.
“What we wanted to happen is happening now; it’s a good move to benefit farmers, and we are also expecting that hopefully, all the equipment within the abattoir is going to be operating properly – and we want to also see how the abattoir will feature in the international markets once operational. We are talking about the Ghana, Tanzania, Angola and Saudi Arabia markets,” Muremi said.
He said this abattoir has been delayed for a long time but what is important is that it is finally getting off the ground.
“We believe the test slaughter will not just be a test slaughter without the abattoir being officially handed over to Meatco for operation and then production starts,” he noted.
Muremi further noted that farmers are frustrated.
“Imagine, since 2015 till now, with it being at the level of a trial slaughter, we are hoping that it will not be a setback again. So, hopefully, all the machinery will be working and then the abattoir should start operating.
Kavango East governor Bonifatius Wakudumo noted that now that the agriculture ministry completed its second trial, he hopes the facility will now start adding value to the local livestock sector.
“If there are any hiccups or any shortcomings, it needs to be sorted out. Although I did not attend the trial, my wish is that our farmers have been crying for long; let it not take long again to officially hand over to Meatco for operation. This abattoir has taken long,’’ he said.
“Our farmers can only be happy if their livestock is being slaughtered there; they are expecting to market their livestock there. Let’s all work together to see how we can hold hands and ensure it benefits the intended industry or community,’’ the governor noted.