Namibia’s sheep export market appears to be struggling, as the total export to South Africa – the country’s largest sheep export market – decreases significantly.
Meat Board statistics show that the total sheep marketing for the period 1 January 2020 to the end of August 2020 decreased by 56%, in spite of producer prices that increased by 20%.
In total, only 270 000 sheep were marketed during this period, as a result of several factors such as drought, policy uncertainties, and predation. The local abattoir market share could only maintain 35%. Interestingly, the price difference between the Namibian and Northern Cape abattoirs still exceeds N$5.00 per kg despite the free market environment that exists.
The total marketing, including the export of goats, decreased by 50% during this period in spite of an average price of N$34.00 per kg, the Meat Board stated.
“Goat marketing declined by 24.94 percent from 26,509 during the first quarter of 2019 to 19 897 in the same period of 2020 due to the uncertainties brought by Covid-19.
Sheep marketing also decreased with a significant 60.51% to 70 141 compared with 177 601 during the first quarter of last year, while the number of sheep slaughtered for export also went down significantly from 52 903 to 12 456 during the first quarter,” the statement reads.
The downward trajectory in sheep marketed and exported is expected to continue for the rest of the year due to the scarce rainfall in the south of the country, as well as policy uncertainties, the board said.
The Meat Board of Namibia announced an additional condition to the Sheep Marketing Scheme this year.
The aim of the move is to offer sheep producers a competitive local carcass slaughter price under the ‘New Export Permit Condition’.
This comes after sheep producers saw substantial price differences between Namibia and South Africa - Namibia’s only sheep export market - since the implementation of the Sheep Marketing Scheme.
According to the Meat Board, the condition implies that both producers and abattoirs have a joint obligation to share the costs of the value addition in Namibia.
A price difference of N$2.50/kg has been set, whereby should the Namibian export abattoir offer a carcass price to the producer differing with N$2.50/kg or less from the South African Abattoir reference price, an export permit will not be granted to the said producer, meaning that the sheep will be slaughtered at the local Namibian Export abattoir.
However, the Meat Board stressed that should the Namibian export abattoir offer a carcass price to the producer differing with more than N$2.50/kg from the South African Abattoir reference price, an export permit will be granted to the said producer to export the sheep to South Africa to be slaughtered there.