SA strict import measure is a trade barrier: LPO

09 Oct 2014 16:30pm
WINDHOEK, 09 OCT (NAMPA) – The strict measures imposed by South Africa (SA) on Namibia’s meat imports has nothing to do with animal health status – it’s a trade barrier issue, says the Livestock Producers Organisation (LPO).
LPO chairperson Mecki Schneider made the statement here on Thursday during the organisation’s 51st congress.
“The LPO even met with the Red Meat Producers Organisation of the Republic of SA - the initiator of these strict measures - in an attempt to convince them to stop this senseless action as Namibia’s animal health status is above suspicion.
In reality, the implementation of the strict measures has hardly anything to do with animal health status, but is rather a trade barrier with the aim to get a better producer price by stimulating increased demand,” Schneider stated.
Namibia exports annually about 260 000 goats, 90 000 sheep and 150 000 weaners to SA.
The new measures, amongst others, include the testing of a whole herd of livestock for tuberculosis and brucellosis, melitensis, quarantine for exporting animals from Namibia to SA.
Schneider claimed that the decision taken by SA on import permits was “one-sided”, and numerous meetings were held in an attempt to find an amicable solution.
Namibia has never been a threat to SA with regards to animal health, he emphasized, adding that there are attempts on all levels to find a solution.
Schneider said the export of livestock before the implementation of the strict export measures had already decreased by 58 per cent. As from 01 May 2014 the borders for all livestock exports were closed for all practical purposes and no cattle or sheep were exported. Only 3 200 goats were exported in May this year from the Ariamsvlei border post.
On the way forward, he said the effective co-ordination and the expansion of the marketing of Namibian livestock will include continuous liaison with relevant role players in the industry to maintain and expand export markets to the European Union (EU), Asia, and Africa.
“As can be expected, the total marketing of sheep was lower than last year, but it still follows more or less the same trend as the five-year average. The small stock producers at least still have a marketing channel, whereas the weaner and goat producers do not have any alternative,” he added.