Namibia recorded an increase in the value of exports during August 2021, which grew by 41.5% to N$7.1 billion, up from N$5 billion in July 2021, according to the Statistician General’s reports.
A Namibian livestock sector overview presented by the Meat Board of Namibia highlighted that cattle marketed from January to August this year decreased by 15.87%, compared to the same period last year. This report reveals that 174 902 cattle were marketed by August 2020, compared to 147 146 marketed by August this year.
Around last year in August, export abattoirs contributed 21% to the cattle marketed. However, there is a significant improvement this year of 26%.
According to the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), the agricultural sector performed relatively well in the bizarre shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic. Official figures show that the sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew from 4.5% in 2019 to almost 6.6% in 2020, with primary livestock production accounting for more than 55% of this figure.
Namibian weaner prices this year are on average N$39.58, compared to South Africa’s N$37.90. Because the Namibian herd has shrunk and slaughter-ready cattle are scarce, cattle prices have gone up. The average price of slaughter-ready cattle is N$51/kg, and Meatco continues to pay this best price.
According to Meat Board statistics, during the months of April and May 2021, Namibia was paying a competitive price compared to major beef-exporting countries such as Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil.
It is evident that Namibian producers continue to receive the competitive prices, just as their counterparts in Australia, the United States and the European Union, who are subsidised by their governments.
The dramatic rise in fat prices continues. According to the World Beef Report, prices of slaughter cattle are driving the meteoric rise that has been the norm in the last four weeks, during which the special grass-fed steer was up US$40.50 cents per kilo carcass.
With the high extraction of recent months, the number of heavy and well-finished animals arriving at meatpackers is relatively small, but the industrial demand covers everything that can be acquired. Therefore, not a few animals arrive at meatpacking units with 420-430 kilos, practically the weight at which feedlots were buying. Therefore, feedlots are finding it difficult to compete for these animals with the industry. In some cases, feedlots choose to buy animals 20-30 kilos lighter and speed up their own rearing while others are on hold, negotiating higher prices for future sales to meatpackers.
The few remaining lots of special grass-fed steers trade at US$4.70/kg or a few cents more, and the light ones at US$4.60-US$4.65/kg. Cows, if they are heavy, reach US$4.45 to US$ 4.50/kg, and heifers around US$ 4.55/kg.
At the moment, there are no signs that the price escalation will stop, but the time for the last sales for the New Year holidays in China was approaching by the end of September. It seems likely that when they fall behind - possibly in the second half of this month - the market trend will change, according to the World Beef Report.