The Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco) says it will focus more on the new markets, including US and China, where the returns are relatively competitive.
“The Covid-19 pandemic year is another challenge with farmers that were recovering from a drought year and thus, trying to rebuild their herd. The Covid-19 has also affected the HORECA (hotels, restaurants, and catering) meaning this has had an indirect impact on clients in respected industries,” said Meatco spokesperson Rosa Hamukuaja-Thobias.
She added last year was not a normal year because farmers were forced to market their animals because of the drought: “But, for now, our new markets diversification especially the new ones USA and Asia are key to us.”
According to her, last year in July, the largest market for the corporation was the European Union with 3620 326 tons of beef compared to Norway being the highest with 1054 380 tons for July 2020. Only 20 tons were exported to the US in 2019 July, which massively increased to 550 576 tons in July this year.
The United Kingdom market statistics for July 2020 indicated a shift in consumption patterns to high-value cuts, with 97 406 tons exported to the UK. The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic affected Meatco like most other businesses. However, because Meatco was declared an essential service under the state of emergency regulations, the impact was reduced tremendously.
Hamukuaja-Thobias said there were slight delays in exports to the Chinese market because of their systems, which Meatco managed to mitigate with no negative business implications.
“Amid the outbreak, Meatco could export its products to international clients with minimal delays because of the enabling flow at the harbours,” explained Hamukuaja-Thobias.
She further said customers worldwide experienced challenges because of Covid-19, such as the travel prohibition that affected the tourism sector, including the hospitality industry, which consumes most of Meatco’s high-value beef products.
“Although consumers continue to eat, the reality is that what we consume at restaurants and what we consume at our private dwellings differs tremendously. This change in consumption patterns disrupted the balance that we require to arrive at the maximum value out of a carcass that Meatco purchases from farmers. Consequently, maintaining the balance on returns from our carcasses remains the biggest challenge,” she said.