Despite severe drought conditions, Namibian cattle exports declined considerably by 26,49% in the first quarter of the year, due to weak demand for weaners by South African feedlots who were adversely affected by foot-and-mouth disease related trade restrictions.

Livestock sector statistics

Since weaner exports are a leading contributor to the sector’s performance, their decline greatly influenced an overall weak performance.

Releasing the statistics of the livestock sector for the first quarter of 2019, the Meat Board announced that export abattoirs improved performance with a 22,1% growth rate on account of drought-induced marketing in this period. Butchers, on the other hand, experienced a decline of 21,20%, losing market share to export abattoirs whose producer prices remained competitive during the first quarter.

Decrease in cattle production

There was an overall decrease in the total production of cattle between January and March 2019.

Year on year, an 18,55% decrease was witnessed in the total production of cattle from January to March, compared to the same period in 2018. Production decreased from 115 257 in quarter one of 2018, to 93 873 in quarter one of 2019.

Long-term sheep marketing trend

The long-term sheep marketing trend continues to depict a gradual reduction. The sheep sector performed well with both live exports and slaughtering by export abattoirs driving the momentum. Due to the drought situation, producers have been forced to manage their livestock levels to prevent further deterioration of rangelands and avoid losses from livestock mortalities.

A total of 177 180 cattle were marketed through various formal channels in the first quarter of 2019, translating to a 17,37% increase in comparison to the same period in 2018 when 150 961 cattle were marketed.

The price difference of the Namibian A2 lamb prices compared to the Northern Cape prices generally declined by 17,7% from N$4,16/kg in quarter 1 of 2018 to N$3,45/kg observed in the first quarter of 2019. The Meat Board of Namibia continues to monitor the price gaps.

Namibian C2 prices on average declined during the first quarter compared to the same period last year. The quarter one average C2 price stood at N$45,18/kg in 2019 compared to N$48,07/kg. This represents a 6,1% drop which is to the detriment of producers, especially under existing drought conditions.

Pork market share scheme

The pork market share promotion scheme is in place to protect the Namibian producers from the surge of 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 first quarter Namibian pork ceiling price stood at N$ 34,05/kg, down by 8,62% from N$37,26 observed during the same period in 2018. During the period under review, a total of 1 729 tons of pork were consumed by the Namibian market of which 1 003 tons were sourced locally as compared to the 726 tons imported from other countries.

This represents a 58% market share for local pork products as compared to the 42% imported. – RPO

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