Develop abattoirs and feedlots to reduce dependence: Shoopala

19 Jun 2014 18:20pm
WINDHOEK, 19 JUN (NAMPA) – There are several other markets available for Namibian meat and meat products across the globe, acting chief veterinary officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Shoopala says.
He said countries such as Finland, Canada, the United States of America and China have shown an interest in the country's meat and meat products.
Shoopala was speaking here on Thursday during the Agricultural Trade Forum’s public dialogue on the future of the Namibian livestock industry in light of the new veterinary requirements by neighbouring South Africa.
Late last year, South Africa imposed stringent veterinary import conditions for Namibian livestock, especially those intended for direct slaughter and feedlots.
Currently, all animals have to be tested as per a new permit system implemented from 01 May 2014.
The new requirements for the import of livestock introduced by South Africa will have socio-economic consequences, particularly for small livestock and communal farmers who depend on livestock exports for sustenance.
South Africa is a traditional market for Namibian livestock and meat products.
“We just have to develop our abattoirs and feedlot systems in order to produce our meat and meat products for other available markets,” Shoopala stated.
He suggested that a formal market and abattoirs be developed for goats.
“We have to formalise goat meat production,” he advised.
Investment in fodder production, such as green schemes dedicated to fodder production, is an important segment in the development of a feedlot system, he added.
“These are some of the possible strategies for a sustainable livestock sector that would reduce reliance on live exports,” Shoopala said.
He noted that these strategies will also create value addition for the country's livestock, create employment for the country's youth, and make Namibia a self-reliant country.
On 10 June this year, South African livestock stakeholders held a meeting and several resolutions were made regarding the Standard of Operation Procedures (SOP).
It was decided that the import requirements will be streamlined to facilitate trade whilst safeguarding South African animals’ health status.
They also agreed in principle that livestock destined for abattoirs and feedlots may be handled differently from those meant for breeding purposes.
This is likely to take place as from 01 July this year.
“These conditions are very stringent and make it very difficult for Namibia to export live cattle, sheep and goats to that country,” Shoopala said, adding that most animals exported to South Africa are non-breeding.
However, he explained, South Africa indicated that non breeding animals’ permits will only be operationalised if SOPs are in place.
The SOPs are not yet in place and there is still no draft SOP for goats.
Shoopala described the cost of compliance, which includes individual testing and treatment and cost of pre-export isolation, as cumbersome.