Farmers encouraged to apply for Meatco’s membership

Namibian farmers are encouraged to apply for Meatco membership to build a solid, sustainable foundation for the betterment of every producer and the nation as a whole.

Producers are often under the impression that they become Meatco producers automatically when they register and sign delivery contracts.

While producers slaughtering for the first time are required to apply for the delivery and slaughter of cattle to Meatco as well as to sign contracts, farmers who wish to become members have to complete a membership application form, obtainable from his/her nearest Livestock Procurement office.

For farmers to qualify for membership, they need to slaughter at least one head of cattle at Meatco’s abattoir in Windhoek or Mobile Slaughter Unit in the Northern Communal Area (NCA) every three years and market to registered Meatco facilities like our feedlots or at Meatco permit days.

Farmers who have sold cattle to Meatco and have failed to qualify for slaughter at the abattoir or for standing space at the feedlots through the Meatco Owned Cattle (MoC) scheme, do not qualify for membership at Meatco.

Membership is imperative for farmers to voice their opinions, to vote or take part in strategic decisions at Annual General Meetings or other platforms. Therefore it is important that farmers inquire about his/her membership status at a Meatco livestock procurement clerk.

No membership fee is payable and farmers immediately become Meatco members once the information is captured onto the database.

Once a member fails to market within a period of three years, his/her Meatco membership is deactivated and therefore consistent marketing is important.

A membership form can be downloaded from our website at www.meatco.com.na

PRODUCERS VOICE THEIR OPINIONS ON MEATCO

Seeing what is going on in the market is important when identifying a suitable abattoir that can access lucrative markets for value-added products. Delivering consistent quality cattle sharpens ones’ farming skills to steadily improve beef quality.

This is what Diethelm Metzger says who began producing for Meatco in 1995 and is an advocate for producing organic beef.

“Meatco was a logical step, as my parents produced for Meatco before me. I felt that Meatco is the only company that can provide an added income for all the hard work I put into beef production,” Metzger says.

“Being the second year of drought, 2016 was a tough year and water became an issue. Everything else, like grazing, was manageable with the markets remaining stable to some extent,” Metzger says.

“Meatco was established in the interest of farmers, therefore by definition it is our best option. The way the board should be selected and the way management is set up, they should have the farmers’ best interests at heart,” he says.

Metzger advises that people should look at the bigger picture as Meatco is the price setter in the country. He suspects prices would drop if Meatco was no more.

“Everyone has a responsibility for their own wellbeing, but so too for the country’s wellbeing. Hence it makes sense to deliver to Meatco because the company exploits superior markets and maintains healthy cattle prices in the country.

“Farmers lead a hard life without vacation and less time with their family, but this is how we are made; it’s not an easy life. I urge everyone not to become negative because of little things around us. Good times are coming again,” he says.

Producing for a lifetime consistently producing cattle for Meatco for nearly 40 years is quite something else.

This is something Horst Kronsbein from the Summer down area in the Omaheke Region has managed to do.

The 72-year old farmer has been in the business since 1974 when he and his wife decided to take up farming; first as a farm manager, then leasing land and then finally owning their very own farm.

According to Kronsbein, he has always delivered his cattle to Meatco even when it was still Damara Meat Packers.

“Balancing work on the farm has been a pleasure thanks to the support of my wife who is a real farm wife and is positive all the time. Then there are my reliable and trustworthy workers too,” Kronsbein says.

“Finding a place to slaughter animals was a challenge, but with Meatco came a reliable link to the markets – something that is certainly appreciated in comparison to the times when slaughtering was hard,” he adds.

“In the beginning it wasn’t easy with the bigger producers in the industry being able to deliver while the smaller producers couldn’t do so due to the points system. However, with Meatco came an easier way to deliver with the use of the new system.

Producers share why they deliver to Meatco

“Meatco is the only company in this country that can access international markets as well as sell and market value-added products to a speciality market. Being an advocate for organic beef or naturally produced beef, I deliver to Meatco as I feel they are the only ones who can pay me a higher premium for naturally produced beef.” – Diethelm Metzger

“Having produced for other abattoirs before, I did my own research where after I realised I could receive a competitive price for my livestock at Meatco,” – Esegiel Nguvauva

“Although on a smaller scale compared to now, I always slaughtered through Meatco as they offer an alternative market for our animals which is stable.” – Dirk Uys

“My cattle have been delivered to Meatco from the beginning, as Meatco makes marketing my animals so much easier. The MOC programme, Ekwatho and the feedlot initiatives give farmers who are not in the best standing, an alternative.” – Horst Kronsbein

“In a unique way yes, Meatco goes around through the media and the website and constantly tries to help the producers understand the company better. By being transparent, it shows that Meatco has producers’ interests at heart.” – Jorry Kaurivi.

MEATCO’S ANNASRUHE FEEDLOT PROGRESSING WELL

As part of Meatco’s Backward Integration Initiatives, the latest developments at Meatco’s second feedlot at Annasruh are progressing well, with road construction currently underway while the first six feeding pens are complete.

The Annasruh feedlot is situated in the Omaheke district. It aims to bring marketing opportunities to farmers in the surrounding areas as well as ensure consistent throughput to our factory.

Towards the end of 2016, Meatco sourced 1464 head of cattle from communal producers at the facility that were scheduled for slaughter during 2016 and in January 2017. Since the beginning of the year, an additional 300 cattle were purchased by Meatco’s communal Technical Advisors.

Meatco is expected to start offloading the first round of weaners towards the end of May after the completion of the feeding pens that will replace the temporary feeding plant currently used.

Once phase one is complete, 12 feeding pens will be constructed at Annasruh.

Through our Backwards Integration Initiatives, Meatco also secured a third feedlot at Kombat in the Otjozondjupa Region. Meatco will continue to invest in developing feedlots and to support local weaner producers to ensure better returns for our farmers/producers.

SUSTAINABLE CATTLE PRODUCTION IN NORTHERN NAMIBIA

In late 2016 The Meatco Foundation embarked on a trip to Rundu in the north of Namibia. The visit was aimed at looking at the outcomes of the Sustainable Cattle Production Project in the Northern Communal Area (NCA) along with stakeholders, in a bid to share the achievements and to create a platform for discussions. The project began in 2013 and ended in November 2015.

In essence, the project looked at four pillars of intervention in the communal farming areas to improve cattle quality and increase market access for farmers. As part of the Meatco Foundation’s commitment, donors and those interested in seeing the impact and achievements of the project first-hand, went along on the trip.

Participants included representatives from Solidaridad Netherlands (South Africa and Zambia); the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB); the European Union; GPS, monitoring and evaluation personnel of the Meatco Foundation; Conservation Agriculture Namibia (CAN); the Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU); the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF); the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement (MLR); and  the Communal Land Development Project funded by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fϋr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). Representatives of the Kavango Traditional Authority as well as the Kavango Livestock Marketing Cooperative also attended.

The preparation of the docking station for the Mobile Slaughter Unit (MSU), which was funded by Solidaridad through the Meatco Foundation, was one of the highlights of the trip as well as witnessing the quality of animals produced through the Meatco-owned-Cattle (MoC) initiative and seeing the unit in action.

The project aimed at enabling 2400 subsistence farmers to sustainably manage their livestock while commercialising livestock in the NCA for local and regional markets.

To sum up, the visitors were pleased with the quality of animals and the hygienic standards practised at the unit.

April 2017
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