WINDHOEK - The possibility of no Brexit trade agreements in place next month is increasing fear about Namibia’s meat export to the United Kingdom worth some N$236 million per annum.
These fears surfaced last week during a meeting of the Livestock Marketing sub-committee of the Meat Board of Namibia. If such a no-trade deal is accepted, the Namibian exports to the United Kingdom could be in jeopardy.
Concerned members were informed that the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) is negotiating with the United Kingdom hoping to find a solution soon. Namibia has been exporting meat and edible meat offal to the United Kingdom since 2009, making it one of the biggest meat exporters in Africa. Namibia also supplies more than 10 000 tonnes of meat to the European market annually. These export markets include the United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and others.
On average, 37 000 tonnes are exported, with South Africa receiving 9 400 tonnes and the European Union, United Kingdom, Reunion, and Norway getting 9 500 tonnes. Local producers have warned that a no trade deal Brexit could have a severe impact on Namibia’s meat exports. The small stock marketing scheme was also discussed, especially mechanisms to force small stock abattoirs to pay competitive prices. New markets that are beginning to be exploited are the US and China markets, and the US in particular appears to be profitable for forequarter meat.
The current drought was also discussed extensively at the Meat Board meeting. To reduce the pressure on available grazing, the committee suggested that producers be able to market without any restrictions.
The other sub-committees of the Meat Board – the FANMeat Committee and the Animal Health Committee – also had discussions in preparation for the upcoming council meeting. During the Animal Health Committee meeting, the budget deficit of the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) was discussed in detail, and it was examined how DVS could be supported to perform the essential services. A request has been sent to the South African (SA) authorities for Namibia declaring itself free of bovine tuberculosis (TB) so that its testing is no longer necessary. This request was supported by a qualitative risk assessment by the Meat Board, confirming that the TB imported by Namibian cattle into South Africa is insignificant, even without testing before movement. Feedback is still expected from the SA authorities.
The FANMeat committee expressed particular concern about the fact that producers do not regularly complete and send in the Animal Health Declaration Form. This is critically important, especially in view of the fact that the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) has no more funds to do farm inspections. Producers are called upon to complete this form twice a year and submit it to the nearest DVS office. The sale of the single visual ear tags for the small stock will start soon, as the double ear tag is now sold out. Allflex has again been named as the supplier of cattle ear tags, which will be available soon.