By Confidente Reporter
MEATCO’S Mobile Slaughter Unit (MSU) arrived in Windhoek on July 28. It is tailored to the unique circumstances of communal producers in the NCA and aims to bring slaughtering services closer to farmers in that area. In this way, Meatco continues to maintain its statutory obligation as prescribed by the Act while addressing operational losses that have accrued in running the northern abattoirs that were not economically viable.
Meatco’s lease agreement to manage the NCA abattoirs on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) expired on March 4. In October 2015, Meatco gave notice to the MAWF informing them that it would not extend the agreement, due to the huge losses Meatco and its producers have carried in the NCA for the last 23 years.
However, the Meatco Board made it clear that it would retain its presence in the NCA but by way of a new business model that makes business sense and whereby the company can deliver a service to producers in the NCA.
The MSU targets the local market and therefore the products will only be for local consumption. The unit complies with all health regulations and is registered as a C-class abattoir.
Advantages of the MSU
Reduction of transport cost for producers
The MSU will visit pre-established central points in the region for the first 12 months. This means the abattoir goes to farms and producers do not have to transport cattle over long distances. The first slaughter will be at Mutambo Ribebe Quarantine camp, situated 50km west of Rundu. This means farmers in the Kavango area will no longer have to transport their animals over 550km to slaughter them in Oshakati.
Creating local employment
Only core slaughter staff will be employed while the fixed-term seasonal support staff will be recruited in the villages where slaughtering will take place, thus creating local employment.
Up to 25 cattle can be slaughtered with ease every day.
Stimulating local entrepreneurship
All offal will be sold directly to villagers and to Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) under the supervision of the Meatco Foundation.
Reduction of operational costs
Operating the MSU costs a fraction of the current fixed abattoirs.
In case of future outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease, the first option will be to move MSU to another region within the NCA.
The MSU truck cost about N$5 million and was manufactured and assembled in the USA.
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