…As ±N$5 million per week financial impact takes toll
By Hilary Mare
MEATCO is having multiple consultations with the Namibia Veterinary Authority (Directorate of Veterinary Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry) in a bid to resolve technicalities in respect to the closure of the Okapuka feedlot on September 2 2016.
This is now the seventh week and the financial impact on the Meatco business is ±N$5 million per week.
As a result last week the Meatco management resolved to give a cautionary notice to its producers stating that 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/kg.
“The board has approached the potentially crippling impact the closed feedlot can have on the business, farmers, producers, the local meat industry, and regional and international markets in a responsible, unfettered and professional manner, with due consideration of all the risks and facts along with input from management, external experts, DVS and their counterpart, DG SANTE, in the EU.
“Thanks to numerous consultations between the board and DVS, we can confirm that the feedlot conditionally re-opened on 30 September 2016 for slaughter and animal movement to and from the premises, including the marketing of feedlot products within the region and markets outside the EU.
“We can also confirm that consultations are on-going (on a daily basis) and we are confident that the matter will be resolved quickly, the imposed conditions lifted, and the products cleared for EU/international marketing. Additional sampling and testing by DVS and its EU-based and contracted laboratory is currently underway on both feed and urine,” the board said last week.
Meatco strives to keep the producer price as stable as possible in the interest of its producers (Section 3(a)), but under the prevailing conditions, the Corporation is under immense material pressure to uphold this objective.
Meatco is on record through the media and other platforms that the feedlot closure should not just be viewed as a matter limited to the Meatco business alone. The company affirms that it is an industry matter of national proportions, as its ramifications will be felt right across the entire livestock and beef industry and the Namibian economy at large.
“We assure our stakeholders that Meatco did not deliberately administer Zeranol and/or its metabolics. Trace residues on two urine samples were in our informed opinion, caused by a chemical process within the animal’s rumen, triggered by the intake of naturally occurring Fusarium fungus in the feed.
“While we will consult the industry on the reduction of the producer price, as a responsible corporate citizen we are bound to operate within the provisions of our enabling Act (Meatco Act 2001), local laws and statutes and that of our trading partner countries to ensure that our top quality Namibian beef not only meets but exceeds the requirements of the responsible authorities and by extension that of our customers,” added the Meatco board.
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