Schlettwein Studying Norway Quota Submissions – Meatco Ready to Takeover Witvlei

MINISTER of Trade and Industry, Calle Schlettwein has said he is studying bids submitted for the export quota to Norway for 2015.

In the current export quota, Witvlei Meat was allocated 300 tonnes, Brukkaros Meat Processors had 100 tonnes and Meatco 1 200 tonnes.

For 2015, only Meatco and Witvlei are vying for the quota with Witvlei threatening last week that it would close and lay off workers if it does not receive a favourable quota allocation.

Schlettwein told The Namibian yesterday that he was studying the quota submissions made to him by the Meat Board of Namibia and would consult his colleagues ‘especially the agriculture ministry.’

“The final decision will be made in the current financial year.” The criteria will be based on the conditions that were set by the Meat Board.

Reacting to threats by Witvlei, Schlettwein said it was not up to the government to help the private sector come up with viable plans for running their businesses but the private sector themselves.

On the Norwegian, market, Schlettwein said although the export volumes were low- 1600 tonnes out of total export of 15 000 tonnes-, the prices were high.

On Sunday, Meatco commenting on ‘Witvlei Meat’s imminent closure’ said it is now a well-known strategy of Witvlei’s management to use their employees to garner sympathy and support for an inequitably distributed Norway quota to benefit a privileged few.

“If Witvlei Meat terminates its operations at the slaughter facility at Witvlei, and exits the lease agreement with Agribank, we as Meatco will operate the slaughter facility ourselves and guarantee the security of all employees engaged at Witvlei slaughter facility. We however reserve the right not to retain its management,” Meatco said in a statement.

“We have stated this publicly before, so it is not new information. It was reaffirmed by the Meatco board yesterday during its meeting”

Meatco said it has been proven without a doubt that the equitable distribution of the Norway quota, as was done this year by the Meat Board and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, benefits the majority of cattle producers and the Namibian economy as a whole.

The company said producer prices to thousands of producers have increased by 30,44% adding that producer prices in the Northern Communal Areas have increased by 51,96%.

“More than 1 000 jobs at Meatco were secured and employment opportunities at our organisation even increased. We were able to invest in new initiatives to increase markets for weaners. We are also able to invest in upgrading our local wholesale infrastructure, and to acquire the requisite skills to create and launch our new Meatma brand,” Meatco said.

On Friday, the Windhoek Observer reported that Witvlei Meat had temporarily closed its doors as it anxiously waits to see whether the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) will reinstate its 50% Norwegian beef export quota.

Witvlei chairperson Sidney Martin told The Windhoek Observer that running the abattoir had become unsustainable after it incurred losses of N$18 million. He said the closure was the last resort after the company ran out of options. About 165 employees have been left without jobs after the abattoir was put under care and maintenance on 31 October 2014.

Source : The Namibian