By Timo Shihepo | 23 September 2022
A CHINESE-backed business proposal to construct an abattoir on a plot donated to former president Sam Nujoma’s office at Otavi has failed to take off.
The plan, supported by a Chinese company called Changshu Complete Sets of Slaughtering Equipment, was mooted in 2013.
The main aim was to construct an abattoir on 50 000 hectares (around 50 000 football fields) which the Otavi Town Council agreed to donate to Nujoma’s office in February 2021.
The Otavi Town Council wanted to own 20% of the project since it donated the land for it.
It also told the Office of the Founding President there was a need to establish a feedlot, as an abattoir would not function well on its own.
However, the plan has now failed to take off after two investors withdrew from funding the abattoir. The chief executive officer of the first investor, Changsu Complete Set of Slaughtering Equipment, had direct talks with the Otavi Town Council to iron out the details of the project, such as land, the provision of water and others.
“Needless to say, the town council, probably due to the fact that councillors often change, did not carry out this project, and the investor lost interest,” Nujoma’s special assistant, Paul Shipale, told The Namibian last month.
Another investor, Shilao Agricultural Supplier, who was in contact with the Africa Trade and Investment Global Services (Atigs) Group, came on board.
“Probably due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the project never took off and the ideas were left gathering dust. This investor too abandoned the idea despite a letter written to the town council to revive the project,” said Shipale.
He said the idea of establishing an abattoir at Otavi was to market the town as a centrally and strategically located area for farmers in surrounding regions to get value for their cattle.
It was also to create by-products such as shoes, belts, buttons, and soaps, which could yield profitable returns and create employment opportunities for the residents at the town and its surrounding areas, he said.
“In addition, such a project would empower the local community by receiving training in deboning and meat cutting, as well as training for plant managers and maintenance workers,” he said.
Otavi mayor Isaac !Hoaeb this month said they were still waiting for feedback from the Office of the Founding President.
“We discussed that we cannot sell land to them. We want a share so that the land will remain under the ownership of the council. Whether they set it up or not, the land would remain with the council,” !Hoaeb said.
“That is what the council has decided and communicated to the Office of the Founding President,” he said.
Since then, !Hoaeb said they have not heard from Nujoma’s office.
“We need the submission from them. The council will then give a final approval before it is sent to the minister of urban and rural development,” he said.
!Hoaeb said they sent a letter to Nujoma’s office in February, asking for more information to be in a better position to evaluate the request.
He said they needed to know the size of the land, the company’s name, and where the land would be transferred to, among others.
!Hoaeb said the council has received a response from the Office of the Founding President, saying they wanted 35 000 square metres of non-serviced land.
“We said we want to make it 50 000 hectares, because an abattoir alone without a feedlot would not be viable, but we are yet to receive feedback from them,” he said.
“As was the practice with the steel factory which has also asked for land before, the council owns 20% through the donated land. So the council will own 20% in the steel plant that is planned to be opened here,” he said.