Nam should look to Angola, DRC, Middle East for livestock export

17 Jul 2014 18:40pm
WINDHOEK, 17 JUL (NAMPA) – The export of weaners to Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia and Zimbabwe as well as a new market for goats in the Middle East, could save Namibia’s livestock industry.
This suggestion was tabled when representatives in the meat industry met recently under the chairpersonship of the Meat Board in its quest to find short- and long-term solutions for the export of weaners, sheep and goats after authorities in South Africa earlier this year set stricter requirements to export weaners there.
The South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries drafted standard operational procedures (SOPs) with regards to on-the-hoof livestock imports to that country that was finalised on 30 June 2014.
The final SOPs will be tabled by 21 July 2014 at the latest, according to the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco) in its latest newsletter issued on Tuesday.
It stated that urgent plans need to be made by the role players in the meat industry to decrease its reliance on traditional markets in South Africa (SA) for the export of live cattle.
“The Meat Board suggested that exports to our neighbours (Angola, DRC, Zambia and Zimbabwe) should be researched, while a market in the Middle East for goats should be explored. Local slaughtering capacity should be increased and under-utilised farms must be made available,” it noted.
In the medium term, investigations should include how more animals could be rounded off for feedlots. Structural changes to herds may also have to take place in the future, reads the newsletter.
With the stringent requirements set, no weaners have been exported from Namibia to SA since May 2014. Meatco said it is extremely difficult for local farmers to meet the new export requirements set by SA authorities.
Meatco raised the concern that the requirements of tests and vaccinations for animals are expensive for local producers to comply with. This is one of the reasons why most producers chose not to export their weaners to SA anymore. The biggest challenge for local farmers is the testing of a whole herd of animals for Brucella Melitensis (BM) and Tuberculosis (TB). Brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria from the genus Brucella.
Animals also have to be quarantined before it reached SA markets.
Meanwhile, Namibia will have to convince the SA authorities and give guarantees with regards to animal health status for further export negotiations to take place, says Meatco’s Executive for Policy Innovation, Stakeholder Relations and Corporate Affairs, Vehaka Tjimune.
He was quoted in the company’s newsletter as saying that since Namibia can no longer rely on exports to SA markets, any other strategy which the industry develops should be based on the principle that Namibia must become self-reliant.
“We cannot depend on the goodwill of others to maintain our industry. We are now at the point where both industry role players and the government are discussing alternatives for the Namibian livestock industry,” he emphasised.
He said it an industry-wide problem which needs an industry-wide effort to solve. Tjimune added that Namibian farmers, the government and the industry have to work together to find a solution which is viable and sustainable that will decrease the industry’s over-reliance on any single market.
Namibian farmers export about 160 000 weaners to SA annually.