The local meat industry – already under huge pressure – could see a decline of up to N$8 p/kg in producer prices in the next few weeks due to the more than N$35 million loss Meatco has already suffered following the closure of its Okapuka feedlot on September 2.
The feedlot was closed seven weeks ago due to traces of the growth stimulant zeranol found in the meat of two bulls. The Directorate of Veterinary Services closed the abattoir overnight after the growth stimulant was also found earlier in the year in meat at the abattoir. Meatco is now suffering losses of N$5 million per week, says Neu-Nique Rittmann, senior corporate communications officer at Meatco.
As a result of the deteriorating situation, Meatco management last Friday resolved to issue a cautionary notice to Meatco producers.
Should the feedlot remain closed in the coming two weeks, this situation will warrant a producer price drop of between N$5.00 and N$8.00.
“It is our duty as management of the corporation to alert our stakeholders, including our Namibian producers and the public, of this development as it is expected of us from our establishment statutes as cited: Section 3 (a)… to promote and coordinate the interest of all livestock producers in Namibia Section 3 (c) … conduct and manage such business in an orderly, economic and efficient manner.”
Meatco explains that it is trying its level best to keep the producer price as stable as possible. The producer prices are hovering between N$27.64 p/kg for C-grade and N$36.19 for A-grade carcasses of 260 kg and more.
“Meatco strives to keep the producer price as stable as possible in the interest of our producers (Section 3(a)), but under the prevailing conditions, the corporation is under immense material pressure to uphold this objective. It is needless to say that the very statutes also expect us to manage the corporation economically and keep it financially sustainable.”