WINDHOEK – An initiative of the Omaheke Regional Council and the Namibian Angolan Housing Institution (NAAHI) to export cattle to Angola has the potential to become a grand national scheme involving emerging farmers from other regions as well, once the ambitious Gobabis Industrial Logistics Park (GILP) has been established.
Hans Hamukoto of the NAAHI Group of Companies confirmed that the dynamism of the proposed meat trade deal has hastened the NAAHI’s plans to erect the GILP that will act as a processing cluster for the thousands of cattle that will have to be accommodated before exporting them.
Hamukoto said the proposed GILP will have the capacity to process 1 000 head of cattle per day and will be open to the public and private sector players, thereby creating a western corridor for Namibian and Botswana meat export capabilities. “Apart from the GILP acting as a cattle processing cluster, it further aims to stymie the logistical road-fairing hegemony of South Africa by ensuring value-added and transshipment in Gobabis to afford an equal opportunity to the local and regional transport companies in establishing a firm foothold in the long-haul prospects inherent in the NAAHI programme,” he said.
Once established, the GILP will attract business from the public and private sectors from Namibia and the surrounding countries such as Angola and Botswana to augment the ability of these entities to export into the SADC region. GILP will be linked to the Walvis Bay Industrial Logistics Park (WILP) in order to access Walvis Bay for global imports and exports, Hamukoto stated.
Founder of the NAAHI, Jose Oliveira, said plans for the proposed GILP have reached an advanced stage. “We are ready to start immediately if we can lay our hands on the right-sized property. The NAAHI is currently looking at all options and is in constant contact with the Gobabis Town Council and all other role players to find the right piece of land and make it part of the town’s development strategy. One of the options is a farm close to the town as we will have to process thousands of animals on what should ideally be a satellite farm for the regions,” he said.
Oliveira said the Omaheke Region has been buzzing since the story was published and the grand plan has lifted the spirits of especially emerging farmers struggling to keep their heads above water in the current drought. “The export meat trade deal did not land on the table because of the drought experienced in both Namibia and Angola; we have been working on the agreement with the Cuando Cubango province in Angola for some time now in order to establish a long-term export agreement. The Angolans are keen on buying our high-quality cattle and processed meat products in the long-term because they want to improve their cattle industry with decent breeding stock like the hardy Bonsmara, Simmentaler and Brahman breeds. The first 100 cows sold to the Angolans were Brahman and Bonsmara and our neighbours have already asked to include Simmentalers in the next batch. They are also desperately looking for Afrikaner cattle, which have somehow unfortunately almost vanished from the Namibian plains,” Oliveira said.
“Namibia has been exporting some 60 to 70% of its cattle for decades to South Africa while other emerging markets have been begging for our outstanding genetics. The time has come to reward our emerging farmers for their hard work and dedication with a new market that will guarantee respectable prices and cut out middle men to ensure hard cash in their pockets while helping their counterparts in Angola,” he said.
By Deon Schlechter