Namibia launches R19 million game meat plant

Renecker’s Palace Hillside Elk Farm of Canada, along with an investment group of about five game ranchers in Namibia, and US-based Indian Gally International, recently opened a game ranch and meat processing plant in Gobabis in eastern Namibia.

“The facility aims to focus its operations on rearing, value addition to promote production, training, marketing and consumption of meat products,” said manager Lyle Renecker. The plant was assembled at a cost of US$2,5 million (R19 million). According to Renecker, animals to be slaughtered at the facility include kudu and springbok.
“We are not restricted to the two (species). Basically any game species qualifies,” he said. It is envisaged that the opening of the plant will provide employment opportunities for about 10 and 20 people. He said that the new processing facility will enable direct distribution to North America, Africa and South-East Asia.

Meanwhile, Willem Schutz, manager of information systems at the Meat Board of Namibia, said that the impact of game farming on the beef industry depends on the magnitude of the operation. According to Schutz, an increase in game farming could put pressure on volumes of beef and throughput at export abattoirs. “Currently, we do have a shortage in volumes leading to low throughput at export abattoirs, compounded by high fixed costs. This makes it difficult to serve all our markets,” Schutz said.

“However, they could complement each other in the targeted markets and if game meat production is planned and structured well, the impact should not be negative. As Namibia is negotiating access to high yield meat markets such as the US, game meat is considered a potentially valuable niche export.