‘Meatco Has Potential’

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek Outgoing Chief Executive Officer of Meatco Namibia Philip Stoffberg believes that the company still has the potential to grow and become a bigger player in the world meat market once it overcomes some challenges. Stoffberg, whose term is coming to end on April 30 after being with the company for over 15 years said balancing the interests of all stakeholders and ensuring adequate supply of slaughtering cattle at Meatco are some of the major challenges that the new CEO will face. Stoffberg noted that certain trends such as bush encroachment, high number of export of weaners to South Africa, mushrooming of game and tourist farms and new farmers are not using agricultural land to its full potential. These are some of the issues that need to be addressed quickly to ensure the future growth of the company. “These factors have led to the number of cattle in the country dropping and with the ever increasing demand for Namibian beef, the company should seek for solutions.” He noted that Meatco is busy looking at how it can assist government or any other interest party in tackling the bush encroachment issue. The outgoing manager said to reduce the number of between 140 000 and 200 000 weaners leaving the country annually, Meatco is planning to expand the size of its feedlot in order to buy more weaners. Stoffberg joined the company in December 1988 as a marketing manager before he became the CEO in April 1995. He said he had seen the company grow over the years. “When I joined the company, we used to make a turnover of N$465 million but the figure has now increased to over N$900 million per annum.” He said despite expanding the already existing South African market, Meatco has also entered the European market, and with little success however in the Angolan and Democratic Republic of Congo markets. He attributed the failed attempt with the northern neighbour to the poor road infrastructure. “We went in partnership with the August 26 Company to market the product, but Angola was a disaster.” Angola imports most of its beef from Brazil, which is much cheaper. He believes that the Angolan and DRC economies and infrastructure need to improve before Meatco can attempt those markets again. “Our product is highly perishable and cannot survive under conditions where you have power failures for long periods and poor transport facilities.” Stoffberg revealed that in fact, it was three times more expensive to send a container of beef to DRC compared to Europe. He added that Angola has since the return of peace started buying livestock for farming and in the next five years, the country will have their own slaughtering cattle. “Angola has the potential to produce good slaughtering animals because they have good climate and abundant grazing areas.” He however believes that the DRC should first achieve total political stability before it can become a big player in the meat industry.