By Hilary Mare
YEAR-ON-YEAR, live exports of cattle to South Africa reduced from 281 965 in 2015 to 165 927 cattle units in 2016 showing a decrease of 30.1 percent between the two years.
In this regard, the Meat Board of Namibia registered that this significant reduction between 2015 and 2016 January to December can solely be attributed to the South African new import conditions implemented on July 1 2016 which subsequently resulted in a more significant decrease of 98.6 percent in the live exportation of weaners in 2016.
“The South African import regulations had a great impact on the price offered to producers as they were forced to accept the low prices on offer. Prices reduced from N$16.68 to N$11.30 respectively between August and October 2016. Also as a result of the new conditions, producers’ bargaining power reduced which negatively impacted their potential income that they would have obtained under different conditions otherwise. As better export conditions were obtained though, slight increases in the prices were observed mostly between October to December.
“Overall, an average decrease of N$1.31 in the weaner auction price can be observed between 2016 and 2015, as the price reduced from N$18.04/kg in 2015 to N$16.73/kg in 2016. Due to the volatility of the prices, the price differences are a result of the market forces subjected mainly to the supply and demand of Namibian weaners in South Africa.
“Similarly an average decrease of N$1.31 in the weaner auction price between the year 2016 and 2015 was observed, reducing from N$18.04/ kg in 2015 to N$16.73/kg in 2016. Due to the volatility of the prices, the price differences are a result of the market forces mainly the supply and demand of Namibian weaners in South Africa,” explained the Meat Board.
Holistically, a total number of 295 217 cattle were marketed between January to December 2016. The live exports to South Africa accounted for 56 percent of the total market share with 165 927 cattle exported. The number of cattle slaughtered at the export abattoirs accounted for 35 percent with 103 097 whereas the local abattoirs slaughtered a total number of 26 193, equating to nine percent of the total market share.
In regards to sheep, a total of 680 843 sheep were marketed, of which 321 413 were slaughtered at the export abattoirs. This accounted for 47.2 percent of the total marketed. Live exports amounted to 290 389 whereas the sheep that were slaughtered at the B and C class abattoirs amounted to 68 741. Live exports accounted for 42.6 percent of the total sheep marketed and 10 percent of the market share was attributed to those sheep that were slaughtered at the B and C class abattoirs.
On the pork sector, the total weight of pork imported from January to December 2016 stood at 3 709 tonnes. This represents an increase of 2.34 percent compared to
the 3 626 tonnes imported in 2015 over the same reported period. Local slaughtering between January to December 2016 stood at 3 907 tonnes, whereas the amount slaughtered between January to December 2015 stood at 3 162 tonnes. This shows a 19.07 percent increase between the two years. The increase in local pork slaughtering can be attributed to an increase in local pork producers.
“It is evident that import- and export conditions have an impact on the marketing of and the price of cattle as was the case for Namibia in 2016. Compared to 2015, the year 2016 shows a 30.3 percent decrease in the total marketing of cattle. This is due to the significant reduction in the live exportation of weaners. The stringent regulations also had an impact on the price of weaners at auctions by exporters. The last three months of 2016 reveal a gradual increase in the weaner prices thus showing a positive incline.
“The decrease in the total of sheep marketed in 2016 compared to 2015 can mostly be attributed to the RSA import conditions implemented on July 1 2106 which put restrictions on live exports. The 29.2 percent decrease therefore shows a significant difference between these two years despite similar climatic conditions. A reduction in the average price difference for both the A2 and C2 can be observed mostly between weeks 45 and 52. Contrary to that for 2016 as a whole, the average price difference between the Namibian and Northern Cape prices was N$2.65 for A2 and N$3.40 for C2 sheep.
“Given the lower price differences, an expected increase in local slaughtering was anticipated; however, producers continued to export their sheep. Given the various challenges such as climatic conditions, the price of sheep skin and low slaughtering numbers, there is a need to ensure that the sheep sector is not compromised and disadvantaged,” added the Meat Board.
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