WINDHOEK - Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco) last week announced that despite the prevailing drought, it has paid over N$175 million above parity to farmers.
The corporation said the financial difficulties experienced in the 2018/19 financial year, along with the prevailing drought of 2019 hindered the company in many aspects and it can be agreed that 2019 was one of the toughest years for the agricultural industry.
“Meatco was there to assist farmers during this critical time of drought. Earlier in the year, Meatco called upon its producers to remain resilient because they know their climatic conditions,” said the company on its website.
Meatco says farmers, along with Meatco and the government, have had to come together as a team to ensure that producers receive improved and timely assistance to pull through the trying times.
Livestock Procurement Executive Andre Mouton said this year brought one of the worst droughts in recent years, and it is important to take a closer look at the figures to understand them.
Meatco’s aim is to stabilise local cattle prices as much as possible and soften the decline in prices as best as it can, he said.
“Despite all the challenges, Meatco strives to help Namibian producers get through these trying times, keeping in mind the future of the Namibian beef industry,” Mouton said.
Meatco did its best to meet the rise in demand for slaughter space. The Meatco Windhoek Factory maintained the highest daily throughput due to the current slaughter numbers, which have never been sustained in the history of the organisation.
The abattoir ran at more than 95% uptime and slaughtered most Saturdays, notwithstanding a significant reduction in the number of staff.
As is, in line with the Meatco mandate of maximising best returns for producers, it has managed to pay producers well above the South African parity price across all grades, excluding fat equalisation and weight premiums.
Meanwhile, the corporation says Meatco’s Mobile Slaughter Unit (MSU) continues to assist farmers in the Kavango East and West regions to market their animals amid the prevailing drought.
The abattoir on wheels, which was introduced three years ago, continues to serve farmers who have quality marketable cattle in the area.
According to Meatco, year-to-date, the MSU has managed to assist farmers by paying a total of about N$6 million for B and C grade animals purchased between March and October 2019.
The total purchases mass over this same period was 377.397 kilograms, while approximately 910 head of cattle were procured in the NCA from March to October.
Furthermore, year-to-date, Meatco has been paying producers an average price of N$ 6 563 per head of cattle, while the average price per kilogram stood at N$ 15.83 live mass.
As from 18 November 2019, Meatco increased the purchase price of live weights (fat grades 2 and better) on all grades to N$ 19.00 per kilogram and similarly reduced the price of all lean carcasses (fat grades 0 & 1) to N$ 15.57 per kilogram.
According to Meatco NCA Manager Obed Kaatura, the mobile abattoir is still operating from Matumbo Ribebe, 50 km east of Rundu in Kavango East Region.
Meatco is aware of the farmers’ outcry for its movement to other parts of the NCA. However, this move will be determined by cattle numbers and favourable climatic conditions going into the next year.
“Since we have both Outapi and Oshakati abattoirs operating, Meatco is thus encouraging farmers in the NCA to market their cattle through these facilities, which are also creating more marketing opportunities in a bid to ultimately grow the industry,” says Kaatura.