By Hilary Mare
THE South African revised import requirements remain an obstacle for the Namibian livestock sector. The current drought and the overall water crisis in Namibia remain critical for the survival of the industry, yet it is predicted that above average rainfall might give a more positive outlook on the performance of the sector.
According to the Meat Board, prospects of more rain may lead to the full operation of export abattoirs and increased fodder availability for livestock; which in turn will ensure quality livestock.
These prospects however appear far-fetched and with very little doubt the meat industry has endured a difficult 2016 inclusive of a prolonged closure of the Meatco feedlot due to Zeranol effects which is impacting on the producer prices.
The industry has however been resilient and below are summaries of various sectors of the meat industry.
Cattle Sector – Production and Marketing
From January to September 2016 a total number of 229 109 cattle units were marketed. The slaughtered sector at the export abattoirs made up a total of 35 percent of the total cattle marketed which is equivalent to 80 439. Live export made up 56 percent which equates to 127 397. Those slaughtered at the B and C class abattoirs were 21 273 representing 9 percent of the total market share. Comparing year-on-year, a decrease of 28.6 percent can be observed in the total of cattle marketed from 320 709 units in 2015 to 229 109 in 2016 over the reported period (January to September).
Live Export of weaners
Comparing year-on-year, a 30.1 percent decrease on the export of weaners is observed from January to August with the stringent RSA import legislation having a significant impact on the reduction. A total of 1 114 cattle was exported in September 2016 which indicates an increase of 153 weaners that were exported in August. Cattle producers were unable to export their weaners to preferred South African markets due to costly export legislations. New establishments registered with DAFF have committed to assist Namibia in resuming exports so that normal levels can be reached over time. To date 16 establishments are registered under the alternative permit system hence a more positive outlook on cattle exports that can be observed for the remainder of the year. Despite the reduction in live exports of weaners, live exports still take up a bigger portion of the Namibia total production and accounts for 56 percent of the market share.
Sheep sector Production and Marketing
From January to September 2016, a total of 579 501 were marketed. A slight decrease of 25.3 percent was recorded from 775 374 sheep marketed in 2015 over the same period. Local slaughtering accounted for 59 percent of the total market share with sheep live exports making up 41 percent of the market share. Out of the total live exports to South Africa from January to September 2016, 8 760 sheep were exported under the “too lean too small” export arrangements. Sheep exported under the normal quota were 227 143 units accounting for 96 percent of the live exports. Opposite thereto stud exports and fat-tail sheep were equivalent to 56 and 700 sheep units respectively. The implementation of the RSA import conditions on 1 July 2016 had a negative impact on the number of sheep that were exported. It shows a decrease from 56 881 units of sheep to 7 588 in July 2016.
The Pork Sector – Production and Marketing
A total of 34 364 pigs, the equivalent to 2 887 tons, have been slaughtered locally from January to September 2016. In comparison, 2 450 tons of pork were imported during the same period. Comparing year-on-year, an increase of 11.8 percent in local slaughter can be observed. A total of 2 547 tons were slaughtered in 2015 compared to the 2 887 tons slaughtered in 2016. Despite the low pork production numbers in Namibia compared to South Africa, local slaughter accounted for 54 percent compared to the 46 percent that the pork imports account for in the market share. The Pork Market Share Promotion Scheme can be the reason behind reduced imports compared to local slaughter numbers. This scheme, which aims to increase local production, ensures that importers purchase pork locally before importation permits are granted for specific products such as pork carcasses.
Conclusively and in light of the industry performance, weaner prices are expected to stay sideways with a slight increase towards the festive season. The live exports of cattle are expected to increase again in the subsequent months due to the registration of South African Feedlots and Abattoirs with DAFF. Despite the more favourable sheep prices offered by the Namibian abattoirs, the industry is experiencing an increased outflow of sheep under the 1:1 sheep quota compared to the sheep slaughtered locally. Factors such as the VAT advantage for the South African agents, as well as the 60 percent levy on raw skins, continue to put the abattoirs in a disadvantaged position compared to their competitors in the RSA.
The local slaughtering for pork accounted for 54 percent of the market share compared to the pork imports which accounted for 46 percent. This difference can be attributed to the Pork Market Share Promotion Scheme administered by the Meat Board of Namibia.
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