WINDHOEK – A three percent increase in production and marketing of cattle was recorded from January to June this year, compared to the same period in 2017.
Production increased from 224,127 in 2017 to 230,797 in 2018. These figures the Meat Board of Namibia (MBN) attribute to an increase in the live export of weaners which increased by eight percent. Sixty six percent were live exports, 18 percent from export abattoirs and 16 percent from B & C class abattoirs. A total of 15,124 cattle were declared to the MBN by the registered B & C class abattoirs in 2018. However, based on the hide purchases, it is estimated that 37,127 cattle were slaughtered at the B & C class abattoirs. An overall increase in total production of cattle between January and June 2018 was recorded. An increase in the availability of weaners in South Africa is expected to further put downward pressure on the price of producers at auctions. An abattoir opened in Outapi which is a welcome addition to provide a formal market for producers in the northern communal areas (NCAs), together with the Meatco mobile abattoir. The Oshakati and Katima abattoirs are still not operational.
The long-term sheep marketing trend shows a gradual reduction in the marketing of sheep. Both live exports and the number of sheep slaughtered at local abattoirs have decreased. The live exports of sheep continue to account for more than half of the total market share of sheep marketed. With the reduction in sheep stock in the country, marketing numbers are expected to follow a downward trend given the erratic climatic conditions associated with Namibia and the current sheep marketing arrangements that are in place. An 11% decrease can be observed in the sheep marketed in 2018 compared to the same period in 2017.
About 433,259 head of sheep were marketed in 2017 compared to the 387,193 marketed in 2018. During January to June 2018, 241,790 head of sheep were exported live, accounting for 63 percent of the market share. The sheep slaughtered at the export abattoirs accounted for 29 percent at 113,103, whilst those that were slaughtered at the B & C class abattoirs accounted for eight percent with 32,300 sheep.
The price difference of the Namibian A2 sheep prices compared to the Northern Cape prices is increasing month by month. A price difference of -N$9.04/kg between the Namibian and the Northern Cape price was observed in June 2018 for the A2 grade.
The Pork Market Share Promotion Scheme is in place to protect Namibian producers from the surge in cheap imports. There is currently only one big pork producer in the country. The capital-intensive nature of this production system acts as a barrier to entry. The Namibian pork ceiling price stood at N$30.07/kg in June 2018. A total of 2,687 tons of pork were consumed by the Namibian market of which 1,380 tons were sourced locally compared to the 1,307 tons imported from the RSA. This represents a 51 percent market share for the local pork products compared to 49 percent imported.
Limited throughput at export abattoirs continues to hamper the profitability and thus competitiveness of the available export abattoirs. As more weaners become available in South Africa, the average price for weaners has decreased month-on-month.