… As weaner exports bring relief
By Hilary Mare
THE weaner calf shortage and tightened supply in South Africa has created a demand for Namibian weaners, providing much relief for the ailing national meat industry, Confidente has established.
Over the past months this has meant that Namibian weaner producers have been able to fetch better prices for their animals, which subsequently increased their income and purchasing power.
“Due to tightened supply and a higher demand in South African markets, as well as the lower production cost experienced by feedlots, the Namibian weaner prices followed an upward trend over the past three months, moving from N$16.96/kg in January to N$21.08/ kg in March 2017,” Meat Board of Namibia General Manager, Paul Strydom, said.
“After the 2016 drought, South Africa received good rains, which resulted in producers rebuilding their herds, which led to less South African weaners being available to the feedlots.
“There is an average price difference of approximately N$8.58, between the average weaner price in Namibia and South Africa. An increasing trend in the weaner prices can be observed in both countries, although more significantly so in South Africa. The price is expected to increase gradually for the remainder of the quarter,” Strydom noted.
Comparing the 48 248 cattle exported in 2016, with the 55 822 cattle exported in 2017, the weaner market performed exceptionally well, by closing year-on-year 13.6 percent higher in 2017, compared to 2016.
Maize prices decreased by 22 percent during the reported period, and as a result, feedlots were able to feed more weaners, at a much lower cost.
“Given the better grazing conditions, as a result of the good rains received in Namibia, the agricultural sector, and more specifically the livestock sector, is expected to grow positively this year, compared to 2016.
“In an effort to lower compliance costs, Namibia will continue to pursue the lifting of the restrictive export conditions that were implemented by South Africa,” Strydom added.
Due to the high demand for weaners in the South African feedlot markets, 76 percent of the cattle marketed were live exports. Export abattoirs accounted for 19 percent of the total marketing of cattle, while the numbers declared by the B and C-class abattoirs accounted for five percent of total marketing.
Comparing the total number of cattle units marketed in 2016 and 2017 between January and March of both years, an increase of 12.43 percent was realised, increasing from 64 421 in 2016 to 73 569 cattle in 2017.
In the sheep category, a 32.3 percent increase of live sheep exports was observed, and can be attributed to the competitive prices fetched in South Africa, compared to the Namibian abattoir average prices, as well as the utilisation of the sheep quota, which was available to some of the producers.
“The lifespan of the Namibian sheep export abattoir operations is threatened by the fact that Namibian abattoirs continue to slaughter below the 80 percent capacity, and by the delay in the VAT claims from the Receiver of Revenue.
“This has placed abattoirs in distressed financial positions, affecting operators’ cash flow. As part of the long-term sheep strategy, the industry therefore calls for a reduction in the time period for the processing of VAT claims, with the aim of relieving abattoirs of their current financial burdens,” the Meat Board said.
A total of 18 230 sheep were slaughtered at the B and C-class abattoirs. This translates into an 8.60 percent share of the total market, compared to 50 percent of the share held by the export of live sheep and 41.70 percent of those that were slaughtered at export abattoirs.
“If the price difference between the Namibian abattoirs and that of the Northern Cape continues to increase, live exports are expected to increase, given the quota that is available to exporters,” added the Meat Board.
According to statistics provided by the Meat industry regulator, the Farmers Meat Market Abattoir only utilised 25 percent of its capacity, compared to the Keetmanshoop and Aranos abattoirs utilising 50 percent and 45 percent, respectively.
The regulator said that this is mainly due to the fact that they have a much larger slaughtering capacity than the rest.
“The high percentage utilisation of Brukarros can be attributed to the fact that it does not slaughter sheep every day, and therefore the sheep slaughter capacity alone is much smaller than the Aranos and Mariental abattoirs.”
In the pork category, the total weight of pork imported from January to March 2017 stood at 602 tons. This represents an increase of 42.22 percent, compared to the 1 042 tons imported in 2016, over the same reported period.
Between January and March 2016, a total of 982 tons of pork was slaughtered locally, compared to the 975 tons of pork that was slaughtered between January and March 2017. This shows a decrease of 0.7 percent. Pork imports between January and March 2017 made up 38 percent of the total market share, while local slaughtering accounted for 62 percent of the total market share.
“The high percentage of locally slaughtered pork can be attributed to two factors, namely the increased production of pigs in Namibia and the Pork Market Share Promotion Scheme, which ensures that imports are reduced, as importers are compelled to first purchase locally produced pork carcasses, before an import permit is issued,” the Meat Board explained.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015