Farming is not for the faint hearted: Tilahun

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Staff Reporter

Windhoek-“Farming is not for the faint hearted and with these conditions, we are seriously facing a real threat to the viability of being a producer under the prevailing market and economic conditions,” says Meatco’s disputed Board chairperson, Dr. Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun.

She further emphasised at a turbulent 31st Meatco Annual General Meeting (AGM) last Friday that the Meatco Board has an obligation to exercise its mandate in line with the requirements as set forth in the Meatco Act, to strategically guide the corporation as well as protect the nations’ and producers’ interest by ensuring transparency, good governance and technical soundness.

She made the remarks as she introduced the new board members as well as the co-opted members to the meeting.

The disputed board comprises Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun (chairperson), Ronald Kubas, Sophia Kasheeta, Stephanus Oosthuizen, Mushokobanji Mwilima, Ishmael Ngangane, Adv. RV Rukoro (CEO) Edwin Beukes, Silas Shakumu and Dr. Diana van Schalkwyk as co-opted members.

Mwilima, representing communal farmers, is the current executive director of the Namibian National Farmers Unions (NNFU), which represents all communal farmers across Namibia.
Through his expertise in management, leadership and corporate governance Mwilima has been credited with restoring the NNFU credibility as an institution.

Oosthuizen is a widely respected commercial farmer. He has been involved in organised agriculture in Namibia for over four decades and is a previous winner of Meatco Producer of the Year.

Van Schalkwyk is a very well known in the Meat industry. She has focused on marketing and product development research, brand communication, corporate image and strategic planning.

Shakumu, is a respected legal practitioner and his main specialisation is corporate governance, intellectual property law, labour law, civil and criminal law.

Beukes is a financial expert and chartered accountant by profession who has long served as a senior audit manager of one of the four global accounting firms.

He currently owns his own accounting firm after an illustrious accounting career in the public and private sector. Oosthuizen and Mwilima are the new members.

The term of the new board runs until 2020 but last Friday’s Annual General Meeting of Meatco decided to look into the legality of the board within 21 days.

Some members of Meatco dispute the board’s legitimacy because of the way it has been appointed, saying producers had no say in the appointments as the Meatco Act stipulates.They maintain that Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa unilatelly appointed the board.

The candidates that some of the dissatisfied producers proposed last year for consideration as board members have been ignored.

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