Eco friendly systems and regenerative farming practices will ensure the longevity of our holistic beef production. “Take half, leave half” is advice that has been handed down through generations of cattle producers managing their rangelands both here and abroad. This is a key sustainability measure which demonstrates the responsible management of our rangelands.
To us, soil health is everything! Through adaptive grazing management, with cattle as part of this arrangement, we can provide opportunities for soil health to occur. By integrating livestock in a way that will help the grass regrow quickly (i.e. providing rest and recovery of the rangeland though grazing events) it keeps a living root in the soil as well as encourages water infiltration. Thus by ensuring the continual improvement of soil health it will lead to healthy flora and fauna and ultimately improved sustainability.
Run-off water that has been filtered by metres and metres of rocks, gravel and sand before being stored underground is pumped up by windmills and solar pumps or a combination thereof. This ensures the supply of fresh artisanal water that is free of chemicals. To minimise evaporation in our hot, sunny climate, the pumped water is safeguarded in an enclosed reservoir before being released into a water trough where cattle can quench their thirst at will before settling comfortably chewing their cud.
It's All About Animal Welfare
The formal standards of ANIMAL WELFARE vary between contexts (i.e. those for wildlife, domestic stock & pets) however all of them focus on five (5) welfare domains:
A positive mental state
These however are debated mostly by animal welfare groups, legislators and academics. Therefore, the above domains can summarily be defined as “Providing animals with environments and management to meet their intrinsic physiological and behavioural needs”.
As producers of this all natural product, we pride ourselves in upholding this ethos.
With the above in mind, it needs to be mentioned that Namibia, despite its dry climate, is not immune to disease and as producers of export quality beef, there are certain preventative measures that we are compelled to adhere to as regulated by our Directorate of Veterinary Services under the mandate of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform.
Similar to human vaccination programmes, the same is applicable to the large livestock sector. These are classified into government controlled, compulsory, essential and optional vaccinations. For example, we as farmers are required to vaccinate our herds annually against anthrax.
Another precautionary measure due to foot and mouth disease which occurs in the northern regions of the country is an un-invasive method of protection. The Veterinary Cordon Fence or more commonly known as the “red line” runs diagonally across the north of the country from west to east preventing the movement of cattle north of that line into the commercial farming rangelands south of the fence. There are several manned veterinary entry /exit points along the red line to control and monitor the movement of animals
By complying with these vaccination programmes and adhering to stringent record keeping protocols, one can be further assured that our beef production is held to stringent health measures. Namibia has had an EU certified abattoir and exports to the EU and other European countries since the early 1990’s. Our strict animal health laws and regulations administered by the Meat Board of Namibia (www.nammic.com.na) in conjunction with EU and other international processing standards further ensures the quality of our meat products.
Whether it’s live auctions, private sales, local or export abattoirs, a determined levy is paid by producers /sellers, but the buyer is responsible for the collection and payment of the levy on all animals transacted in order to finance the activities of the Meat Board of Namibia. All beef in Namibia, whether for national or international consumption, must be free of hormones, antibiotics and steroids thereby further contributing towards a wholesome and nutritional dining experience.
Quality Free Range Beef
As a discerning consumer and lover of good quality, naturally healthy meat, one is currently able to trace the animal from birth until it is processed through the NamLITS system. It is envisaged in future to trace up to the actual cut of beef purchased off the shelf. The Meat Board of Namibia (MBN) was founded in 1935 to facilitate the export of livestock, meat and processed meat products to importing countries. The MBN administers and implements the FAN Meat Scheme in cooperation with the Namibian Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS). The FAN Meat Scheme was declared a National Scheme in September 1999 which aims to assure the quality and safety of meat to the consumer. These are therefore key components to ensuring a feeling of safety along the control chain and serves as a guarantee to the fact that you are enjoying 100% naturally healthy Namibian free-range beef.
NamLITS is the acronym for Namibian Livestock Identification and Traceability System and has the Farm Assured Namibian (FAN) Meat Division of the MBN operating the NamLITS Helpdesk. There are approximately 90 000stockbrands in the area south of the Veterinary Cordon Fence defined in NamLITS. This new online tool enables registered producers to partner with the Directorate of Veterinary Services to enter limited data on NamLITS (www.namlits.com).
Cattle Ear Tags
Without a stock brand or ear tag, no head of cattle can exchange hands or be processed without it being registered on the NamLITS system. The number assigned to any animal becomes its passport, I.D. document and vaccination card all rolled into one.