WINDHOEK – Sheep producers with allocated slaughter slots have until tomorrow (Wednesday, June 12) to apply for exporting their sheep – destined to be slaughtered at the export abattoirs in Mariental and Aranos – live to South Africa.
This follows a price difference of N$8 p/kg between the local abattoirs and two Northern Cape abattoirs whose prices are being used as basis for the Meat Board of Namibia’s new stipulation for the sheep marketing scheme.
This new export rule was implemented on June 1 by the Meat Board in order to protect local producers against price exploitation. It stipulates that the price difference may not be higher than N$2,50 p/kg. It is calculated on the highest prices of A-2 and A-3 carcasses from the Namibian abattoirs and the average prices of the Rooidag abattoir in Springbok and the KLK abattoir in Upington.
If the prices are higher, local producers with slaughter slots at the abattoirs in Mariental and Aranos will then be allowed to export their animals live to South African abattoirs where they will obtain a better price.
General manager of the Meat Board confirmed to Farmers Forum that Namibian producers must not confuse the situation for open borders. “Only producers with slaughter slots until tomorrow (Wednesday) are eligible to apply with the Meat Board for export permits of live animals. Producers must not now rush and arrange for transport to start exporting sheep,” he noted. Slaughter prices are announced every Monday and apply from the Wednesday until the following Wednesday. He says the aim of this new condition is purely to give local producers a competitive local price for carcasses and it implies both producers and abattoirs have a collective responsibility with regard to the costs of value addition for the country.
He stressed that the situation will be monitored closely and if discrepancies with price formulation in South Africa are detected, the new condition will be revised.
The implementation of the sheep-marketing scheme in 2004 created such huge price differences between local export abattoirs that Namibian producers suffered losses running into hundreds of millions of dollars. This was confirmed by a report from the ombudsman, Advocate John Walters, last year, which confirmed losses of N$177 million up to 2013. Over the 15 years since the implementation of the scheme, this amounts to losses of N$2.65 billion.