The chairperson of Meatco Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun announced last Friday that the government would take up the long awaited 30 percent stake in the form of equity in Meatco.
Namundjebo-Tilahun delivered the good news for all stakeholders at the AGM of Meatco, which brings to an end speculation about government’s intentions regarding the controlling shareholding.
The announcement also made clear that the original cabinet decision has not changed, namely that Meatco should be a producer-owned and controlled entity under a cooperative type structure.
The cooperative will consist of producers and a trading company in which the producers will have the majority shareholding and government the minority share.
Cabinet emphasised that any form of ownership of both the cooperative and the holding company should accommodate communal and commercial livestock producers and shall have to take cognizance of the strategic nature of the meat industry, the public investment made in the control of animal disease and the marketing of meat and meat products.
Government’s vying for a stake in the company is because the meat industry has been declared a strategic sector that is dependent on weather and climate change.
In the case of drought, the government will be able to intervene and rescue producers from bankruptcy, while animal disease control, maintenance of the veterinary cordon fence and testing standards will also be the state’s responsibility.
Namundjebo-Tilahunalso cautioned producers that “it is clear to all of us that our industry is in a crisis and it will be to our detriment if we do not apply our minds as well as interrogate everything that is presented to us.”
She outlined the challenges facing the industry plagued by the lingering effects of the 2013 drought, which has been compounded by the current drought which has become a national crisis, which saw government respond with a N$350 million livestock incentive scheme, fodder subsidies and subsidisation of leased grazing.
At the AGM the CEO of Meatco, Vekuii Rukoro, highlighted the company’s performance for 2013/14, saying Meatco recorded increased revenue of 14.61 percent, mainly due to the additional Norway quota and weakening Namibian dollar against foreign currencies.
He stressed the importance of focussing on production to ensure efficiencies and ongoing focus on improving stakeholders’ relations, and building mutual confidence with government, producers, employees and customers.
In total Meatco slaughtered 116 771 cattle in 2013/14, only 141 animals less than the previous financial year, representing less that a one percent decrease.