Farmers in Kavango East were all smiles on Friday morning when they got a chance to inspect Meatco’s new mobile abattoir. They welcomed the mobile abattoir, as they can now sell their excess cattle to Meatco for an income.
Farmers in the region have been without access to a commercial abattoir since Meatco stopped operating the abattoir at Rundu more than two years ago.
“We’re very excited. You know it has been more than two years since we farmers have sold our cattle for slaughter, so now this is the opportunity we have been waiting for to get rid of our excess animals and also to get an income, because there are some farmers that have no other source of income but from their cattle, so this is good for them,” said Hannes Balzar, chairperson of the Kavango East Regional Farmers Forum.
“The thing that disappointed me is that they will first start with farmers that have already registered. The ones that want to sell urgently will have to wait, but it’s fine, as long as farmers can benefit,” Hannes added.
Many farmers praised the initiative, saying it came at the right time.
“This is a good initiative, because it has been long since we farmers have sold our cattle. Some farmers are in debt with financial institutions, like AgriBank, and if they will sell now they will be able to pay back some of their loans, as well as solve some problems,” said Virginia Kayimbi, a female farmer from the Shambyu traditional jurisdiction of Kavango East Region.
According to the procurement officer responsible for Kavango West, Kavango East and the Tsumkwe area, Timotheus Kativa, the mobile slaughter unit (MSU) arrived in Namibia on July 28 and was held in Windhoek, where Meatco did some test slaughters.
After that the MSU was dispatched to Rundu before moving on to Matumbo Ribebe Quarantine Camp, some 75 km south of Rundu.
“It’s just passing by Rundu to give a chance to our farmers to view it and we will move it to Matumbo Ribebe Quarantine Camp, where it will be stationed.
“Once we start with operations we’re going to slaughter about 1200 cattle and there will also be a programme that we’re going to follow and our farmers are all informed of that,” Kativa added.
“This is a relief to us farmers in the two Kavango regions, as we’ve been waiting for an abattoir for long. Farmers are complaining of overgrazing on their farms over the past two years, as their cattle are a lot since they didn’t sell for over two years.
“I think with this mobile abattoir farmers will sell some of their livestock and use the money to improve their farms and collect some income, as well. This is a good initiative from Meatco and we welcome it, they must just start with the slaughtering,” added another farmer, Timotheus Shinkeva, who cannot wait to sell some of his excess cattle.
According to Kativa, the MSU would start with the cattle in Meatco-owned schemes and the 29 farmers that have registered to supply Meatco.
Once this is done the mobile abattoir would then start to take in more cattle and other farmers will be given a chance to register their cattle for slaughter.
“The truck will be in the region for as long as there is demand,” Kativa explained.
“There won’t be any quarantine requirements for this unit, because the meat will be for local market. Farmers will be informed, so that they come to our office to register and we give them the slaughter dates.
“That will then allow the farmers to bring their cattle to the slaughter unit,” Kativa explained.
Farmers can also get transport assistance from Meatco, but at a cost, he said.