Hochfeld, 2014 Meatco Braai Champs

The Hochfelf farmers’ association piped twelve other barbeque contestants to win the 2014 Meatco national braai competition that was held at Bisserwasser. “Let’s just say they were passionate,” said chairman and organiser of the event, Hoekus van Niekerk of the Uhlenhorst Farmers Association about Hochfeld, who clinched the prestigious national braai competition that has been in existence for the past 30 years. “The cooking has become very competitive. It also has become a serious hobby, especially among the farming community,” Van Niekerk further told New Era. And not only did Hochfeld win the overall team of the year award, they were also team of the year in two presentations of the eight individual categories, landing two third place and one second place wins. “We were pretty much unstoppable,” said Joacuterg van Dewitz of the victorious team. The 13-member panel of judges had to make tough choices, since all teams were impressive and highly competitive. The Meatco national barbecue battle is an annual competition between top farmers associations and social teams from the country’s farming community.

The day kicked off with the food and spices being handed over to the competitors and the teams had four hours to work out recipes from the ingredients. The braai competition took a “ready, steady, cook” format, where the main ingredients are only revealed on the day of the contest. The theme of the 2014 contest was “Vuur jou Naam” which translates as ‘Fire up your Name’ in Afrikaans. Each of the three stages for the starter, the main course and desert had to be made from flour, two pieces of squirrel, a piece of steak, a maize cop, a bag of embe (traditional berries) and traditional spinach. The competition structure was split into multiple rounds namely display and exhibition of stalls, the products, preparing the raw materials, starters, vegetables, meat, maize preparation and desert within the four-hour period. Apart from the main sponsorship from Meatco, various teams through additional corporate sponsorships also won exciting bonus prize monies. The Stampriet Farmers Association won second place in the farmers associations category, while the third place went to Kaiserstraat Farmers Association. In the social teams category, the first place winners were the ‘City Sleekers’ followed by the ‘Voermeester’ team in second place and the ‘Hippies’ in third place. At this year’s contest the Hochfeld Farmers Association not only received the honour to host the 2015 national braai competition, they also received N$100 000 from Meatco to enable them to host the planned event. “City Sleekers” the winners of the social team category received a cash prize of N$10 000. A total of 12 teams took part in the farmers associations category, while nine teams slugged it out in the social teams category.

There was also a contest in the junior braai category, a first in the history of the competition. Rene Kotze and Diane de Lange won this category. “I am humbled to think that as an organisation, our involvement in the farming community spans generations, but not just with the national braai. Meatco has been around since the 1980s, and has also been working with farmers for more than 30 years,” Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun, the chairperson of the Meatco Board of Directors said at the event. Namundjebo-Tilahun outlined that a lot of things have changed over the last 30 years, which includes Meatco’s business environment, the agricultural industry and Namibia as a country. “But one thing that remains the same is our vision, which is to act in the best interest of Meatco producers and the Namibian meat industry. This fundamental principle guides all our decisions and all our actions,” she said.

“We must change with our environment and that means trying new things. What we can guarantee, like we have been doing for the last few decades, is that we will continue to increase our efforts to help create a viable meat industry for the farmers today, as well as the farmers of tomorrow,” said Namundjebo-Tilahun.

Derrick Wright, President of the Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU) in his welcoming remarks said food security depends on land ownership and said government must do something positive to maintain food security.

Source : New Era