Multi-million-dollar projects loom
IN April 2011, Namib Poultry Industries embarked on an ambitious multi-million dollar project.
It was an initiative meant to enable Namibia to breed and produce chicken meat locally as well as create employment opportunities to Namibians in Windhoek and Okahandja.
Ten months down the line, the project is in its advanced stages and is going to be launched in April this year.
The fully-integrated poultry project will consist of breeding flocks, a hatchery, a broiler farm and an abattoir with a production capacity of 250 000 broilers per week on a single shift.
Namib Poultry Industries (NPI) forms part of NMI Namibia Group of Companies, which includes Namib Mills (Pty) Ltd and Feed Master (Pty) Ltd.
NPI spearheads the N$500m poultry project, which is the first integrated broiler project in Namibia.
The General Manager of Namib Poultry Industries (Pty) Ltd, Gys White, who is also managing the poultry project says, “This is a great achievement for a country like Namibia to create an industry that was not there in the past years.”
White says the poultry project is expected to create about 500 new jobs for Namibians, a move that will help reduce the unemployment crisis in the country.
NPI plans to supply the entire local market with chicken meat and the operation is reported to have a capacity to double its size to 500 000 birds per week.
The poultry project is funded by NMI Namibia Group, Bank Windhoek and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of southern Africa.
Chicken have over the years been imported from South Africa and the new project will enable import substitution for the country.
Located about 30km from Windhoek at Klein Okapuka farm, the construction of the production facilities began in April last year and is expected to be in full swing in April this year.
Okapuka farm covers an area of 3 800 hectares and an additional 1 200 hectares was bought from the adjacent farm where the poultry project is to be run. This area is about 12km long and four and a half kilometers wide.
“A total of 120 000 square meters is under roof now consisting of 53 chicken houses; 3000 square meters is for the hatchery and abattoir is going to cover close to 12 000 square meters of land,” says White.
As soon as the poultry project is in operation, it is expected that the farm will accommodate close to 1.25million hens at any given time and from that figure around 250 000 chickens will be slaughtered weekly to supply chicken meat all over Namibia, thereby adding to the provision of food security in the country.
“The abattoir is expected to be in operation as from April this year. On the broiler side, we will have 35 broiler houses covering an area of 150m x 15m and each house will have a capacity to accommodate 50 000 birds,” says White.
“We have managed to engage students from some colleges offering agricultural courses such as Unam and the Agricultural College where some students have enrolled with diplomas,” he adds.
The construction of this multi-million dollar project has also created employment opportunities for many Namibians who work in the construction of the poultry houses.
Already, about 400 jobs were created during the construction phase and of these close to 350 are locals which also imply that a number of people have been taken off the streets.
This is in line with Vision 2030 and will make substantial contribution to the country’s import substitution, Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and the trade balance.
White says they are mainly going to target the local market so that they will be able to meet the demands and try by all means to supply chicken meat to all shops around the country.
“Since the project is currently in its infancy, we focus on the local market and supply the chicken to Namibians. We want to produce enough chicken to make Namibian supply sufficient and contribute to the country’s food security,” he explains.
However, the greatest challenge becomes that of finding workers who are experienced in the poultry industry as the country has not been engaged in this type of project previously.
This entails that they have to provide training to the workers after recruitment and carry out a lot of supervision to make sure they are doing the right things to familiarise them with the industry.
“Finding qualified human resources is quite a difficult task for us as most people who have applied for employment have never worked in the poultry field.
“But we will provide a two-week’s training for the workers who will be enrolled so that they know what they are expected to do.
“We will try and recruit people from Okahandja and Windhoek since Okapuka farm is situated in between the two towns, thus people from these towns will benefit from the project,” concludes White. PF