The Kombat feedlot is a good initiative if linked with other projects to enhance growth opportunities for farmers in the spirit of Harambee.
It is in this regard that the leadership of the Otjozondjupa Region added its weight to the feedlot. The feedlot would come in handy in the face of strict South African import regulations that have necessitated the transformation of the Namibian weaner production system into an oxen production system.
The local leadership pledged their support during the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco)’s recent courtesy call on the governor of the region, as well as regional and town council members to discuss projects in the region and secure their support for the construction of a Meatco feedlot at Kombat.
According to Meatco senior manager of stakeholder relations, Lapitomhinda Hashingola, the meeting provided a platform for Meatco to engage with the regional leadership and explain its marketing and backward integration initiatives.
Producers that form part of the Meatco Owned Cattle (MOC) initiative have been under pressure because of limited grazing. However, the feedlots are marketing initiatives that can help producers sell their animals.
Due to the drought, Meatco is assisting farmers by accommodating their excess cattle at feedlots. The feedlots are part of Meatco’s backward integration initiative that can help lift communal farming to commercial standards and maximise opportunities for farmers.
Otjiwarongo Mayor Bennes Haimbondi told Meatco about one of the town’s projects taking place in collaboration with AgriBusDev. This is something in which Meatco could participate in terms of fodder production for the feedlot.
Bearing in mind that the feedlot will rely on fodder production, there will also be opportunities for local entrepreneurs to supply the Kombat feedlot, which in turn will bring socio-economic development to the region – something the regional leadership is keen on.
Councillors voiced their concerns about the drought, animal health and grazing conditions, as well as animal husbandry matters.
“The regional leadership informed Meatco about the Otjiwarongo Resettlement Farmers Day, where resettled farmers share insights, knowledge and challenges with stakeholders – something that would give Meatco a platform to share information on how these farmers could better market their livestock,” Hashingola said.
Otjozondjupa Region is well known for cattle farming, while the area surrounding Grootfontein and Otavi is known as ‘the breadbasket’ of Namibia.
To a certain extent there is great potential to establish industries connected with such farming activities and its byproducts. It has the further advantage of uniting communal and commercial farming in the same region.