31 May 2005
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FARMERS in the northern communal areas (NCA) are up in arms over Meatco's refusal to avail its Oshakati abattoir for the slaughtering of their cattle and processing of beef for their own identified market in South Africa.
The farmers, under the umbrella of their trading company called Mangetti Meat Marketing (Pty) Limited, have been using Meatco's Oshakati abattoir to slaughter and process their beef for the market in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mangetti Meat Market's general manager Shali Kamati said that from July last year Meatco introduced delaying tactics in the slaughtering and processing of their beef, a move which resulted in early closure of the abattoir last year.
Both Kamati and Ismael Shailemo, the chairperson of Mangetti Meat Market, confirmed that farmers issued a petition to get Prime Minister Nahas Angula's attention regarding Meatco's decision to bar them from using the abattoir.
Kamati and Shailemo said a positive socio-economic impact was made and that farmers in the NCA benefited financially and otherwise as the Mangetti Meat Market spent about N$2.5 million in procuring livestock from the farmers.
"Meanwhile, Mangetti Meat Market has now a surplus of more than 560 unslaughtered cattle valued at N$1.9 million as from September 2004," Kamati indicated, adding that Meatco's unwillingness to avail its abattoir for slaughter and processing of their beef left about 500 members of the Mangetti Meat Market in the dark.
This, according to Ka-mati, has forced farmers in the communal areas to petition the government to come to their rescue and to remind Meatco's management of the country's policies of reconciliation and free market- ing.
"Being previously disadvantaged all the years in livestock marketing, the community may lose patience over the so-called redline cordon fence, and provoked to demand the formation of a single national farmers union to replace NAU and NNFU," Kamati charged.
Meatco's public relations officer Ucha Hoebes shot down the accusations, saying her company never had a deal with Mangetti Meat Market as claimed.
Hoebes says it was August 26 Holdings which used to procure cattle from the farmers in the communal areas to be slaughtered at Oshakati abattoir, and not Mangetti Meat Market.
She said although August 26 Holdings has paid for the slaughter fees, the deal was cancelled after it was realized that Meatco was competing with August 26 Holdings in the same market in South Africa.
Meatco will only continue allowing August 26 Holdings to use its slaughtering facilities if they find a different market, said Hoebes.
"They denied us access to Germany where we acquired customers before, and now it is the South African market again. Where will we get the market if that is the reason Meatco is denying us the use of Oshakati abattoir?' Shai-lemo asked. - Nampa