Record-keeping key to success on farms

Ensuring Namibian meat is wholesome, safe
According to farmer Gero Schonecke, the Namibian Livestock Identification and Traceability System has been a great help in his record-keeping.
Ellanie Smit
Exceptional record-keeping has been the key to success for 2023’s Farm Assured Namibian (FAN) Meat producer of the year, Gero Schonecke from Kalkfeld.
According to him, as responsible producers, they aim to ensure that all documentation from the directorate of veterinary services (DVS) and the Livestock and Livestock Products Board (LLPB) is up to date and filed properly.
He added that the Namibian Livestock Identification and Traceability System (NamLITS) and guide have been a great help.
His wife, Sabine Schonecke, added that animal welfare is essential to their farming operation.
The Schoneckes mainly farm with Bonsmara, Simmentaler, Simbra and Simmentaler-Bonsmara crosses in a cow-calf and ox production system.
These breeds are well-adapted to the Namibian environment and produce good quality carcasses for slaughter, which earns a good price at abattoirs.
On an annual basis, FAN Meat conducts desktop as well as on-site audits of producers to verify compliance with its rules and standards.
FAN Meat is a farm assurance scheme that gives guarantees to international consumers that Namibian meat is wholesome and safe to consume. This scheme was developed in collaboration between the LLPB and DVS. It was declared a national scheme in 1998.
FAN Meat assures that livestock was raised and handled in accordance with international animal welfare standards, that livestock never received any growth promoters and that animals are traceable back to the farm of origin.
The FAN Meat office last year conducted on-site farm inspections on 62 producers who delivered livestock to export-approved abattoirs.
In order to recognise the effort invested by producers, it was decided to, on an annual basis, identify and reward a producer of the year. On-site audits focus on record-keeping and animal welfare standards – an important international market requirement.
The office identified Gero as the producer of the year for 2023 because of his exceptional record-keeping, sound farm management practices, animal welfare standards, identification of livestock and good agricultural practices.
The LLPB said it hopes to motivate producers to maintain the rules and regulations of livestock production in the country as set out in relevant legislation as well as the rules and standards of the FAN Meat scheme in the interest of Namibia’s meat and livestock industry.