WINDHOEK – Namibia’s pork industry is exploring all avenues to erect a third pig abattoir in the central areas to bolster local production which has experienced a 14.8 percent decline in the first six months of this year.
With only two pork abattoirs – in Tsumeb and Mariental – the country’s 600-odd pig producers are struggling to deliver their products to these facilities separated by some 800 kilometres. The urgent need for an abattoir in the central areas was one of burning issues raised at last week’s Pig Producers Association’s AGM and information day under the theme, Feeding for Success.
Namibia had to import about 1,049 tonnes of pork, 38 percent less than in the same period in 2016. It transpired that no progress has been made with the erection of an abattoir at Sëeis, but new possibilities exist in the Hochfeldt/Summerdown areas, albeit the meeting felt the abattoir should be closer to Windhoek.
Re-elected chairperson Gideon Goosen pointed out that the local pork industry is very dependent on the South African price structuring as the Meat Board of Namibia (MBN) uses that price to calculate the local ceiling price. The pig industry experienced big challenges this year, especially with the outbreak of listerellosis at one of the biggest meat processors in the Republic of South Africa [RSA], Enterprise. The listerellosis has been associated wrongly with pork and brought about consumer resistance which caused that pork consumption decreased with a resulting price decrease. The outbreak of swine fever, which purportedly has nothing to do with pigs, had also to be corrected.
Fortunately for the pig producers in Namibia, the MBN has a pig marketing scheme in place which guarantees prices and marketing for producers and they can thus survive. Goliath Tujendapi of the MBN explained that through this scheme the pig industry has grown and Namibia produces 53% for its own use against the 47% which must be imported. Thanks to this incentive, Namibian pork producers receive 20 percent more if the price in RSA is between N$20 to N$25, 15 percent if the price is between N$25 and N$30, and ten percent if the price is above N$30.
Looking at the year ahead, Goosen said a rising input cost and a lower producer price are expected as the price of maize has been in an upward trend although RSA is experiencing a surplus of some four million tonnes.
“Predictions are that pork prices will be under pressure worldwide and this will open the door to exports which will then have a rollover effect on SA and Namibia.
“This seems like a very gloomy prospect, but there will always be a market for quality fresh pork in Namibia and my message to all today is to produce high quality pork and you will prosper in the future.”
Pig farming remains attractive because of the lower input costs and especially cheaper feeding costs for pigs.
Lauren Trusler and Johan Botes from South Africa explained the importance of biosecurity and proper nutrition for pig farming. Pig farming in Namibia is still very much a family set-up. Whether it is in a remote communal area or on a more commercial scale, pig farming has traditionally stayed within the family or community. The Namibian pig industry is still facing big challenges despite the protection it enjoys from the government. The MBN introduced the Pig Protection Scheme at the end of 2012 on a trial basis to promote and protect local pig producers. Pig producers can be found all over the country but mostly in areas where there are plantations such as maize from where pigs can be fed.