A section of communal farmers in Zambezi region have expressed support for Meatco’s planned mobile slaughter unit – a mobile slaughterhouse on wheels that the meat producing and processing company intends to roll out to communal areas in the coming weeks.
The farmers’ support comes a week after this newspaper reported on the views of another group of farmers in Zambezi Region who are opposed to the mobile slaughter unit.
Nevertheless, the manager for corporate communications at Meatco, Rosa Thobias, says the mobile slaughter abattoir is expected to arrive at Walvis Bay Port on July 13, where it will go through roadworthiness tests before it takes up its first slaughter test at Windhoek Abattoir.
“From there the mobile slaughter unit will proceed to Kavango West at Mutambo Ribebe Quarantine camp, approximately 50 km outside Rundu to slaughter more than 1 200 cattle,” Thobias said.
Communal farmers in support of the mobile slaughter unit expressed their opinion at a Meatco Annual General Meeting (AGM) on June 24, led by Boniface Limbo, a communal farmer from that region.
Thobias says the mobile slaughter unit would be moving from village to village to slaughter onsite at communal farmers, thus reducing transport costs for producers, who would otherwise have to transport livestock long distances to the abattoir.
The other benefit is the operational flexibility, because the mobile slaughter unit will allow any amount of cattle available to be slaughtered with ease.
“It will also stimulate local entrepreneurship, as all the offal will be sold directly to villagers and small SME’s. [It will also lead to a] reduction of operational costs as the cost of the mobile slaughter unit will be a fraction of the current fixed abattoirs,” she further commented.
It was during the AGM that the communal farmers appealed to Meatco to consider taking its mobile slaughter unit to the Zambezi, as most of the farmers in that region have not marketed their animals for the past two years.
A motion was also passed to review the requirements for membership. Currently, according to Meatco’s membership qualification requirements, in order to qualify as an eligible Meatco member a producer must have sold cattle to Meatco in the past two years.
The meeting decided to amend the current membership requirements for all producers to include all producers who have sold one unit of livestock to Meatco in the past three years.
“This amendment will cater for the Zambezi Region farmers who, due to their unique circumstances of FMD re-occurrence in that region, would otherwise not qualify to be members of Meatco,” said Thobias, adding that Zambezi producers are eligible for membership if they slaughtered with Meatco in the past three years.
The AGM was attended by communal farmers from the Northern Communal Areas, who came from as far as the Kunene, Zambezi, Kavango and Ohangwena regions.