WINDHOEK- The erection of a fence between Angola and Namibia is not an option due to historical commitments but zones must be created that are declared free of foot-and-mouth disease, says Dr Alex Toto, a private veterinary consultant with a good background on animal health status and trade. He was speaking at the annual planning meeting of the Livestock Producers Association (LPO) last week.
The LPO is looking at strategies to support this process. Given that 60-70% of weaners that are marketed come from the communal sector, strategies were discussed how to add more value there. Mechanisms must be in place to keep weaners inland and it can only happen if the price ratio between weaners and slaughter animals is more favourable. Thus, abattoirs have to pay a competitive price and instead of considering restrictions, rather look at incentives to keep weaners inland. Furthermore, it appears that communal producers feel that there is not enough access to marketing channels, and this aspect should be addressed by the Meat Board, together with the rest of the industry, including the LPO. It is also necessary to investigate how to improve the quality of weaners in the communal areas.
The session deliberated on how to increase domestic production to achieve economic growth. Discussions, amongst others, were on improving the animal health status of the northern communal areas to enable these animals to join the mainstream marketing south of the veterinary cordon fence (VCF). The theme at the recent LPO congress was to develop ideas to fuel growth in the agricultural sector. If the primary sector is not growing, no additional jobs can be created to benefit the rural economy. Thus, emphasis is on identifying low pending fruit in the livestock, agriculture, wildlife and other sectors that will spur future growth. The LPO says it is strategically looking at optimal processing and marketing of livestock. Namibian producers earned N$3,4 billion from cattle sales last year, representing 45% of all agricultural earnings. It says local, European and South African export markets should be optimally supplied for livestock production to remain lucrative. The organisation says if beef prices remain high, due to the current ailing economic conditions, it will force consumers to substitute it with pork and chicken as cheaper alternatives. The LPO expects prices for weaners to remain competitive for the next two years, but fears that farmers will sell off livestock in the short term counter the effects of poor grazing in some areas.
It says the LPO management is exploring setting up an organisation that can optimally supply the markets, take input from livestock producers and ensure the sustainability of livestock production. “Any negative impact on the export markets will hit the Namibian economy and devastate producers,” it concludes.
2018-11-13 10:08:13 5 months ago