WINDHOEK - The Meat Board of Namibia (MBN) has been tasked by the sheep export industry to revisit the sheep marketing scheme and make the necessary recommendations.
This is hopefully to bring an end to the current marketing crisis, which has cost producers some N$177 million a year, resulting in the closure of various abattoirs. With another 180 Namibians about to lose their jobs at the end of the month at the Brukkaros Meat Processors (BMP) abattoir situated about 20 km south of Keetmanshoop, the country’s entire small stock industry is in dire need of a lifeline. The crisis was highlighted last week when the Ombudsman, John Walters requested a meeting with agricultural minister Alpheus !Naruseb as soon as possible to discuss his report’s recommendations.
Due to the closure of BMP, the Meat Board of Namibia was last week forced to make adjustments regarding the controversial slaughter requirement of the Sheep Marketing Scheme. BMP’s abattoir closure only left the Aranos-based Natural Namibian Meat Packers as export abattoir, while the Farmers’ Meat Market, at Mariental only slaughtered 500 sheep for the local market once a week. Farmers’ Meat Market has since August 13 been registered to slaughter for export three days a week. The local slaughter requirement for sheep exports also takes into account the slaughter of sheep at accredited local abattoirs. This measure is valid until November 15 and implies that a producer who has supported the local slaughterhouse during the past six months can export a similar number of animals. MBN in collaboration with the industry has been tasked to develop a long-term proposal for the growth of the sheep industry, including both producers and abattoirs, and at the same time assessing the impact of the long-term proposal on the different sectors.
BMP’s Chief Executive Officer, Brian Greeff, says BMP has tried its utmost best to ensure things could not get to this stage, but the retrenchments are inevitable, as the abattoir just cannot stay afloat.
Shareholders lost millions and they do not want to continue, so BMP would rather leave it to someone who can run it profitably, and for now the plant is under care and maintenance.
The Sheep Marketing Scheme, introduced to stimulate value addition to sheep and sheep products locally, currently works to export a ratio of 1:1 after it was reviewed from the 15 -30 percent “ad valorem flexibility levy” in 2013. The slaughter to export ratio implies that the producer (farmer) would be permitted to export one sheep after slaughtering one in local abattoirs. The scheme was introduced in 2003 to benefit producers and the national economy through value addition and support for the Growth at Home strategy.
2018-09-11 10:16:09 6 months ago