Newly-appointed Meatco’s board chairperson, Johnnie Hamman, has promised to make the country’s premier meat processing and marketing entity, great again by improving the relationship between the cooperation and its producers. Hamman said this last week while speaking at a stakeholders meeting that started at Gobabis in the Omaheke region and ended at Grootfontein in the Otjozondjupa region.
“As the newly appointed board chairperson, I have committed myself to serve this position with true commitment and serve all the producers in this country,” Hamman said.
He said together with the board, they have been hard at work since they took office in May this year.
“One of the most important stakeholder engagements was to meet the banks and now the producers, which the board considers to be the most critical stakeholder.”
The chairperson said he understands the many challenges the farmers are facing such as the devastating drought and reduced throughput to the export abattoir.
He stressed the need for the stakeholders to come together and map the way forward to increase livestock throughput.
According to Meatco’s page, producers, who attended the meetings, appreciated the immediate engagements the board and management undertook following their appointment and that they did not delay to engage them as producers.
“After the meeting, I have a lot of hope. I am sure that most of the farmers feel the same. The biggest thing here is that you (Meatco) have started this thing of setting this precedence, now it is time to live up to it,” said James Tromp, a farmer in the Hochfeld area of Otjozondjupa.
“This type of communication and engagement with the producers is what must carry on. I am also glad that the rumours of the Chinese having interests in purchasing the Okahandja Abattoir have been clarified and nullified with us,” Tromp added.
“The meeting went pleasantly well and we hope Meatco will not take another five years before coming back to engage us again. These meetings are very important and we, as farmers learn a lot from them,” said another farmer Albert Hindjou who resides in the Otavi area.
Former Meatco employee and farmer, Louise Vermeulen said the meeting was fruitful and he is seeing the ideas that they had back then as the cooperation employee are being realised.
“I am proud to still associate myself with Meatco. I can see difficult times lying ahead but, at the same time, I am positive that the strategies and plans shared here with us will bring about the much-needed change for the producers. I have absolute trust in the new board as well as the new management and the reshuffling at the executive level that took place,” he said.
“I think the presentation was good. I also think that without Meatco, the Namibian cattle industry will not persevere, as it has always been the price stabiliser in the country and an important role player in agriculture. Should Meatco cease to exist, other abattoirs as highlighted will set cattle prices to their advantage. I, therefore think it is important that Meatco continues to exist within this sector,” said another farmer Eeni Kopp.
The next meeting is scheduled for next week Monday at Aminuis in Omaheke and it will end at Coblenz in the Otjozondjupa on Thursday.
The team will embark on the journey to the Zambezi region on the 3rd August, before going to the northern parts of country.
Meatco’s management will also find a suitable date to engage farmers in the southern part of Namibia. The date will be communicated in due course.