Namibia: Scheme Prods Farmers to Sell More Cattle

NAMIBIA - Cattle farmers of the northern communal areas (NCA) are being offered N$1.50 extra per kilogramme in addition to the weekly carcass price to motivate them into selling their animals.
calendar icon 9 March 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
Due to concerns of a low off-take (sales turnover) in these areas, the Meat Board has embarked on a cattle-marketing incentive scheme which started on March 1 and to run until November 30 this year to improve the low off-take of livestock and low abattoir utilisation in Caprivi, Kavango, Kunene North, Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshana and Oshikoto, which together hold the majority of the country's cattle population in Namibia.

The off-take remains very low, resulting in Meatco running its slaughter facilities at a loss.

Meatco's Manager for Public Relations, Uschi Ramakhutla, told New Era yesterday Meatco has lost N$134.6 million over 14 years, which forms the bulk of the company's Corporate Social Investment.

"The off-take in the NCA has always been low and a concern to Meatco. Meatco is managing the plant on behalf of the government using funds from profits made in the RSA and EU markets from products produced south of the veterinary cordon fence," said Ramakhutla.

In 2004 for instance, as low as 9 787 cattle went through the two Meatco abattoirs from a population of 1.2 million cattle. In 2006, the number improved to 20 177 from a population of around 1.1 million cattle.

In comparison to areas south of the veterinary cordon fence (SVCF), of 1.2 million cattle in 2005, more than 141 000 went through Meatco plants.

Studies indicate that more than half of all livestock in Namibia are kept north of the veterinary cordon fence on about 16 percent of the total land area of the country.

This results in large-scale degradation of rangelands and the increased vulnerability of livestock farmers to periodic dry periods and droughts.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has availed N$5 million to the Meat Board to implement the scheme to assist producers in the NCA to cover some of the costs they incur by the compulsory quarantine of their cattle.

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