By Mupiri Matthias
Windhoek, August 4 – A momentous occasion unfolded as Farmers Meat, a subsidiary of the esteemed Hartlief Group and part of the illustrious Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group portfolio, celebrated the grand reopening of its doors following a substantial investment of N$3 million in restoration efforts and an additional N$40 million in working capital. The auspicious event was graced by the esteemed presence of Honorable Calle Schlettwein, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform. In his address, Minister Schlettwein underscored the pivotal role of unlocking the economic potential embedded within Namibia’s agricultural sector.
The reopening of Farmers Meat symbolizes not merely a reinvigoration of its operational essence but a profound paradigm shift in the nation’s economic landscape. The Honorable Minister articulated how the infusion of value-addition activities propels the country away from a trade-centered reliance on raw materials, toward a more promising trajectory of trading in refined finished products. He passionately affirmed, “Our collective policy and strategic interventions over the years have gradually shifted our country from being an exporter of live animals to becoming an exporter of value-added agricultural goods, and Farmers Meat plays a pivotal role in this collective endeavor.”
The Governor of the Hardap Region, Hon. Rev. Salomon April, seized the occasion to express his unwavering commitment to fostering employment opportunities and enhancing regional infrastructure. Commending the enterprising initiative of Hartlief and the O&L Group, April extolled their commendable investment in the region. He also underscored the indispensable need for a symbiotic partnership between the public and private sectors, accentuating that collaborative efforts are essential for realizing enduring economic prosperity.
April resonantly remarked, “Today, we also express our heartfelt gratitude to Hartlief and the O&L Group for their investment in our region. Their commitment and capital injection have not only brought economic prosperity but have also created much-needed employment opportunities for our residents. We commend their vision and foresight in recognizing the potential of our region and their dedication to contributing to its growth. As we celebrate the re-opening of Farmers Meat, we envision a future where our region thrives economically, where our people are empowered and prosperous. Let us work hand in hand, embracing collaboration and innovation to harness the full potential of the Hardap Region.”
The esteemed occasion was graced by the presence of Wessie van der Westhuizen, Chief Executive Officer of O&L Group and Chairman of the Hartlief Group. Van der Westhuizen expounded upon the principles of sustainable development, technological advancement, and inclusive growth. The reopening, which took place in October 2022, has already exerted a remarkable influence, exemplified by the disbursement of over N$75 million to sheep producers between October 2022 and June 2023.
Van der Westhuizen articulated, “The reopening of Farmers Meat in October 2022 has already made a remarkable impact. As the biggest sheep abattoir operation in Namibia and the only approved exporter of sheep meat in the country, we have paid over N$75 million to sheep producers between October 2022 and June 2023. This showcases our commitment to supporting local farmers and fostering economic development within our communities. Our ambitions for Farmers Meat are substantial. For the 2023 calendar year, we plan to process 55,000 sheep. Looking ahead, in 2024, we aim to handle between 100,000 and 170,000 sheep, which will require further investment. By 2025, we envision reaching full production capacity, processing 280,000 sheep. This will necessitate additional investments which we are only too willing to make. Hence, the abattoir will be temporarily shut down for the period from the 7th of August until the 4th of September 2023 to allow for significant maintenance, improvements, upgrades, and investment to the plant.”
The profound journey toward achieving optimal production capacity has already begun to bear fruit, with the exceptional quality of Namibian lamb permeating international markets, including Norway, Germany, and the Bermuda Islands. As the abattoir gears up to ascend to full production prowess by 2025, it will undergo a temporary closure for maintenance and strategic upgrades from August 7th to September 4th, 2023.
Trevor du Toit, General Manager of Farmers Meat, extended gratitude to all those who contributed to the reopening’s success and expressed heartfelt appreciation to O&L and Hartlief for their unwavering support. He articulated, “We are extremely proud of this achievement and grateful to everyone who made it possible. This reopening marks a significant milestone in our journey, and we look forward to continuing to make a positive impact on the Namibian meat industry and specifically the sheep sector. Your belief in the vision and potential of our abattoir has played an integral role in making our dream a reality.” The remarkable celebration of Farmers Meat’s reopening serves as a powerful testament to the unwavering commitment to advancing the nation’s economic prosperity and fostering a future of shared success. – Namibia Daily News