Empowerment through knowledge takes centre stage at Meatco Day

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WINDHOEK – Empowerment through knowledge regarding the various forces that impact on the local, regional and global livestock and meat sources will take center stage on May 27 when Meatco whost a Media Community Engagement Day in Windhoek.

Some of the country’s foremost experts in their respective fields will address attendants on a variety of issues concerning the livestock industry.  This will include a presentation by Daniel Motinga, independent financial economist on the importance of agriculture (livestock and meat) in the Namibian economy and a presentation by Goliath Tujendapi of the Meat Board who will be dealing with the successes and challenges of the livestock industry. Sakkie Coetzee, President of the Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU), will discuss the role of organised agriculture in the development of the livestock and meat industries in Namibia while Meatco Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Advocate Vekuii Rukoro, will deliver his Meatco State of Business address.

Ways of training journalists across the continent in particular fields, with emphasis on the agricultural sector, touching on issues such as climate change, the Namibian and global environment and local and global social issues will also be discussed. The future of exports of livestock from Namibia to South Africa have been debated in detail by all local role players ever since South Africa introduced stringent and almost impossible to meet new animal health regulations for exports to that country at the end of 2013. The ongoing discussions intensified after a notice in the South African  government’s Gazette introduced a consultation process two weeks ago about the re-introduction of strict animal health regulations for imports from South Africa.

The urgent discussions took place to ensure strategies for the future exports to South Africa after the crisis in May 2014 when South Africa introduced almost impossible regulations overnight. These brought Namibia’s exports to a standstill and deprived thousands of Namibian producers, especially communal farmers, of their only income when exports of weaners came to a standstill due to the regulations.

The brainstorming took place under the auspices of the Meat Board of Namibia during the quarterly industry meeting of the National Animal Health Forum and the National Livestock Marketing Committees.

The South African Directorate of Animal Health gave notice in early April of the new consultation process about the introduction of new animal health regulations regarding imports from other countries. Namibia supplies some 160 000 weaners per year to the South African market as part of the country’s billion dollar export industry. On  August 1, 2014,  the stringent new regulations were temporarily lifted for stakeholders to give inputs after the devastating effect of these regulations were observed by South African authorities. This opportunity urged the Namibian authorities to compile all necessary documents and have Namibia declared free of certain animal diseases.

The Livestock Marketing Committee reiterated its quest for finding alternative export markets for goats and weaners in other neighbouring countries. The possibility also exist that Namibian weaners could be rounded off in unused quarantine camps in the  area north of the Veterinary Corridor Fence and feedlots could be erected in such areas while fodder could be supplied via irrigation.

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