• June 19th, 2019
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LPO welcomes Karan Beef but says pillars be protected

Deon Schlechter 

WINDHOEK - The Livestock Producers Organisation (LPO) has welcomed Karan Beef of SA as direct role player in the Namibian cattle procurement market, which earned the country N$3.5 billion last year on condition that the three pillars of the local industry stay protected and looked after. 

Chairperson of the LPO, Piet Gouws, name these three pillars as Meatco (for the export market), the domestic market and the weaner export market. 

He was part of a high-profile Namibian delegation that visited Karan Beef earlier this year to familiarise themselves with the operations of the continent’s biggest feedlot. He welcomes the idea of Karan Beef’s direct procurement system saying this will shorten the value chain with positive financial rewards for the Namibian producer. 

“It brings competition, which is always good and local producers should walk away with a better average profit and save on transport costs and costs to prepare weaners,” he stated.

General Manager of the Meat Board of Namibia, Paul Strydom, says Karan Beef has been involved in Namibia for some time and is regarded as a highly respected feedlot market for Namibian weaners. “Prices paid for weaners by South African feedlots have been a significant financial injection for our meat industry (especially weaners) in the past two years and we hope Karan Beef’s new initiative produces even better results,” Gouws stressed.

He says government should never contemplate border control for the export of weaners but make sure the troubled Meatco stays alive as an important (and only) mechanism for the exports of Namibian beef to various international markets. He also emphasised that government should take good care of the rapidly growing domestic market.

Namibian livestock producers contributed 45 percent of the total agricultural income for 2017 and earned a whopping N$3.4 billion from the sale of cattle - a drastic increase of N$1.4 billion compared to the N$2 billion earned by cattle.

LPO has expressed serious concern about the sustainability of the export market of beef from Namibia and has already started to investigate how an optimal processing and marketing organisation like Meatco should be composed to be sustainable in the long run, and in which producers are directly involved in day-to-day operations. Plans for such a body – which will emphasise the worth and impact of the livestock sector and provide information and statistics as a baseline to guiding sustainability towards 2030 – have reached an advanced stage and more details will emerge after a proper sustainability study has been completed. 

Gouws says it is critical for the Namibian economy that this industry stays healthy and sustainable. “The vision of the LPO is that all three markets which are currently served, namely the EU export market, the local market for beef as well as the export market of live cattle mainly to South Africa, are of vital importance to ensure a fair price for producers,” he remarked. 
The South African beef industry annually slaughters about three million cattle, of which 87 percent is A grade. The cattle are mainly from feedlots, which are vertically integrated in the total value chain and deliver a final product to the retailers. Exports of beef from South Africa (SA) in the previous year during the drought was close to 50,000 tonnes. Due to the stabilisation of the rand, exports are not that competitive anymore, and it is expected that exports will this year decrease and that this export meat will have to be absorbed in the SA market. 

The previous chairperson of the LPO, Mecki Schneider, says it makes no sense that secondary role players in the value chain are profiting and placed in a comfort zone while farm production at grassroots level is handicapped. “Organised agriculture will have to be more strongly supported by the various farming sectors, and the voice of agriculture needs to be loud and clear. Farmers need to realise that they must make provision for dry years – especially since government has other pressing social commitments in times of drought.” 

*A random survey among prominent Namibian farmers yesterday revealed that most are in favour of the Karan Beef move. All of them said it is too early to see where this venture will lead to but welcomed Karan’s presence in Namibia.

Staff Reporter
2018-12-19 09:27:57 5 months ago

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