Meatco could emerge as the sole applicant of the 2020 Norway Beef Quota after the Meat Board of Namibia invited bids for companies wishing to export beef to the lucrative market as part of the 1600 tons quota allocated to Namibia.
This comes as it emerged the meat processor is currently the only company in the country Certified as a European Union Export Abattoir, a requirement for companies to be considered under the export agreement.
“Yes, Meatco is currently the only Certified EU Export Abattoir so that give us the advantage,” Meatco’s Manager: Corporate Affairs, Rosa Thobias told the Windhoek Observer.
She said the company was targeting the end of the year to fulfill its 2019 quota, after the company was allocated the entire 1600 tons quota by the Meat Board after initially receiving 1 300 tons, and subsequently another 229.5 tons.
“Meatco got the entire 1600 tons Norway quota. We have used already more than 90 percent and we the remainder of the year we should be able to fill-up the rest,” Thobias said.
Quizzed on the impact of the drought on the ability of the company meeting the quota, she said, “Meatco obviously being a drought year. Farmers were de-stocking and we thus had an increase in slaughter capacity. Meaning there was enough to supply this market”
Asked if the cattle numbers were sufficient to meet the existing quota, she said ,“I am happy to highlight that to this date, Meatco has slaughtered close to 103 000, a milestone indeed in the history of Meatco compared to the last 4-years. The current drought is really reaching deeper into its contraction stages and farmers can no longer cope with the pressure of feeding their cattle. While it is a sad reality on the ground. Meatco plays a vital role in Namibia’s red meat industry, not only to stabilize the industry in the national interest – but, also to access lucrative international markets on behalf of all livestock producers. Without Meatco’s involvement, the red meat industry will revert back to being a commodity-driven industry, which will result in producers receiving much less for their cattle.”
Goliath Tujendapi Meat Board’s Manager: Trade and Strategic Marketing said the high costs involved in upgrading abattoirs to EU standards was a hinderance to many farmers and companies that might want also to bid for the Norway quota.
“As the Meat Board our role is only to administer the quota. For an abattoir to be considered for the expo quota, it needs to be accredited and currently we only have five accredited abattoirs. These are the only ones that can qualify, but that would depend of they have also been accredited by the directorate of veterinary services. For one to be accredited as an export abattoir, the cost is very high for one to upgrade to the standards required and that is challenge that other abattoirs are facing,” he said.
Witvlei Meat Chairperson, Sidney Martin ruled out the company applying for the 2020 Norway quota.
“We will not be applying for the quota because the facility is closed and can only do so if it was operational,” he said.
Witvlei Meat and Brukarros Meat Processors are past exporters under the agreement.
The Norway quota is awarded annually to eligible companies and is valid for the period 1 January 2019 to 31 December 31 December 2019.
Botswana also has a 1600 tons export quota to Norway, which becomes available to Namibia if companies in that country cannot fulfil it.