Due to decreasing beef production during 2021 as well as an increase in pork imports, Namibia became a net importer of controlled meat and meat products in 2021. A net importer means the country imports more than it exports.
Commenting on the monthly trade statistics for the third quarter of 2021, the Meat Board of Namibia pinned it on ongoing re-stocking activity as a result of the drought aftermath that created this unusual trade position.
“An expected rebound in the cattle sector and better prospects in the sheep sector in the absence of quantitative restrictions is likely to reverse the current scenario,” reads the report.
Looking at the meat trade balance for controlled products for 2021, the country imported 1 391 353kg of beef, while exporting 5 538 306kg. Namibia imported 147 749kg of mutton and exported 121 981kg, but failed to export pork and imported 5 477 334kg of it. This resulted in Namibia importing 7 016 436kg for the sector, while exporting only 5 660 287kg in total.
Pork accounted for more than three-quarters of all controlled meat products imported as a result of limited local production capacity.
The Meat Board further stated that local pork production remained relatively stable in the first nine months of the year 2021, in comparison to the same period of 2020. Pig slaughtering for the first three quarters of 2021 totalled 33 322 heads, which was a 0.32% decline. However, the third quarter alone registered an expansion of 0.74% with a slaughter of 11 401 pigs, compared to 2020.
Given the stable local pig slaughtering process, a significant reduction in the market share of local producers is attributed to an upsurge in pork imports, which rose by 40.63% on a year-to-date basis.
The trade figures further indicate that September 2021 showed a positive performance in all sectors except sheep when compared to 2020. However, due to weak performances in the first half of the year, total marketing on a year-to-date basis is still negative in all sectors, except for the goats sector.
“Exports of beef products increased substantially during the third quarter of 2021 on account of a doubling of the quarterly performance by export abattoirs in comparison to the year 2020.
“September 2020 recorded the highest beef exports thus far. While sheep slaughtering activity at export abattoirs recommenced, exports have not resumed due to low slaughter volumes during September 2021,” explained the Meat Board.
It added that commodity producer prices posted a mixed performance with slaughter cattle and sheep prices trending upwards, while pig producer prices are generally reclining from month-to-month during 2021.