Beef exporters await Norway quota verdict

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Windhoek

Meatco will in all probability be allocated the lion’s share of 1 200 tonnes of the lucrative Norwegian beef export quota for next year, which amounts to 78.1 percent of the total available quota of 1 600 tonnes, worth in access of N$40 million.

The allocation to Meatco forms part of the Meat Board’s final recommendations that were presented to Deputy Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development Pieter van der Walt yesterday, and if accepted, could see Witvlei Meat rise from the ashes after a closure of one year, following an initial allocation in 2011 of 800 tonnes to Norway. According to the recommendations Brukkaros Meat Processors, as a third party, will be allocated 175 tonnes.

Minutes after yesterday’s meeting, the general manager of the Meat Board, Paul Strydom, told New Era that the Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, Immanuel Ngatjizeko, will have the final say on this sensitive issue.

“The Meat Board debated a proposal for the allocation of the Norwegian quota to potential export abattoirs for discussion with the minister… He has been informed of the process and recommendations of the Meat Board, and an announcement will be made before the end of November,” Strydom said.

Last year, the quota turned into a legal tussle after Witvlei Meat’s quota was slashed. The company eventually received a quota of 350 tonnes. The increase in the quota to both Meatco and Witvlei was possible because the third party, Brukkaros Meat Processors, could not deliver on its promises. Days later, Witvlei Meat announced the closure of its Witvlei abattoir, citing unfair allocation procedures by the then minister of trade and industry, Calle Schlettwein.

Since 2010, Witvlei and Meatco, as the only slaughterhouses, had equal shares of the 1 600 tonne export quota. Cabinet decided in December last year to slash Witvlei’s share from 800 to 300 tonnes upon recommendation of the Meat Board of Namibia.

Chairperson of Witvlei Meat Sidney Martin yesterday told New Era that if his company is awarded only 225 tonnes this year, he would demand written explanations for the rationale behind the way the allocations were made.
Asked whether this could lead to the re-opening of the Witvlei plant in the Omaheke Region, Martin said he does not want to speculate and would rather wait for the announcement at the end of November.

New general manager of Brukkaros Meat Processors Andriet van Niekerk ensured New Era that the abattoir is fully operation and the company is more than ready to deliver the quota.

Meatco CEO Vekuii Rukoro was quoted as saying he has issues with the Meat Board’s set requirements for allocation of the export quota. He stressed that applicants must be eligible for European Union/Norway export and must have all the relevant documents and valid permits from the competent authorities, in particular the Directorate of Veterinary Services.

He has on previous occasions said that only Meatco has the ability to pass on the full benefit of the Norwegian quota to all Namibian producers.

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