Restructure meat industry, farmers urge

Restructure meat industry, farmers urge

MEAT producers want their representative organisations to adapt and change to modern economic demands and to have more teeth.

Members of the Livestock Producers Organisation (LPO) on Wednesday debated a motion submitted by the Aranos Farmers’ Association to give more powers to the existing Meat Board and to change the LPO into a Meat Producers Congress (MPC),where all communal and commercial farmers can register and automatically become members. A growing dissatisfaction among meat producers, especially among sheep and goat farmers, frustrations with abattoirs and the export levy system and the need to restructure the meat industry resulted in the motion.”We want a situation where the Meat Board has full authority about the total meat industry in Namibia and to be the sole body to liaise with Government,” Kobus van Wyk told the 250 delegates.”In order to rationalise the total industry, we want to achieve that producers can directly talk to the Meat Board about their problems and not via different institutions.Presently, meat producers don’t have representation on the Meat Board.”Van Wyk of the Aranos Farmers’ Association added that there was growing division among meat producers, interest groups and the relevant authorities.The current structures limited the required co-operation, he said.”A strong institution is necessary in the interest of all producers at national level.”However, veteran politician and farmer Jan de Wet said the Meat Board was set up by the State and to modernise or restructure it would require changes to the Meat Industry Act.”Let us rather revamp the existing LPO.Surely we as farmers and meat producers can discuss grievances and the changes desired among the members,” he pleaded.De Wet’s proposal was accepted.The congress ended yesterday and re-elected LPO Ryno van der Merwe as chairman.The meeting also discussed a preliminary study on the small livestock sector and the export levies imposed on sheep exports.A growing dissatisfaction among meat producers, especially among sheep and goat farmers, frustrations with abattoirs and the export levy system and the need to restructure the meat industry resulted in the motion.”We want a situation where the Meat Board has full authority about the total meat industry in Namibia and to be the sole body to liaise with Government,” Kobus van Wyk told the 250 delegates.”In order to rationalise the total industry, we want to achieve that producers can directly talk to the Meat Board about their problems and not via different institutions.Presently, meat producers don’t have representation on the Meat Board.”Van Wyk of the Aranos Farmers’ Association added that there was growing division among meat producers, interest groups and the relevant authorities.The current structures limited the required co-operation, he said.”A strong institution is necessary in the interest of all producers at national level.”However, veteran politician and farmer Jan de Wet said the Meat Board was set up by the State and to modernise or restructure it would require changes to the Meat Industry Act.”Let us rather revamp the existing LPO.Surely we as farmers and meat producers can discuss grievances and the changes desired among the members,” he pleaded.De Wet’s proposal was accepted.The congress ended yesterday and re-elected LPO Ryno van der Merwe as chairman.The meeting also discussed a preliminary study on the small livestock sector and the export levies imposed on sheep exports.

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