23 Feb 2016 10:00am
WINDHOEK, 23 FEB (NAMPA) The new import regulations set by South Africa for livestock from Namibia should be implemented separately and over a period of time, the Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU) says.
On 09 November 2015, South Africa published its new import regulations for livestock from Namibia as well as Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland with a 60-day period reserved for comments. Namibia submitted comments on the new regulations on 08 January 2016. The proposed date for the implementation of the new conditions is 09 May 2016.
The union, in its latest newsletter issued on Friday, noted that Namibias case will be heard during the World Trade Organisations (WTO) Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) committee meeting slated for 16 and 17 March 2016.
Namibias position is that the matter should be resolved bilaterally through negotiations to the benefit of both countries.
Should the import regulations be implemented, it should be done on a differentiated basis over a period of time. Should the import regulations be implemented as published, it would have a catastrophic impact on the Namibian meat industry and livestock exports, it noted.
The NAU said the matter is also receiving attention on the highest political level through Government engagement with South Africa to find solutions for the stringent import regulations.
In November last year, the Meat Board of Namibia announced that it approved three new conditions for the export of livestock to South Africa. These conditions were set to give further insurance that the exports of Namibian animals comply with the South African policy for livestock imports. One of the conditions was that Namibian animals may not come into contact with South African animals, except at the time of slaughtering.
These conditions entail the abolishing of the prerequisite that the export destination must belong to the South African Feedlot Association or the South African Abattoir Association, and is replaced by the condition that the export destination must have a proved traceability system.
A further condition was set that will prevent Namibian livestock from being exported to an intermediary destination first, except where that destination forms an integral part of the final destination and has a proved traceability to the final destination, the Meat Board said in a media statement.
These conditions do not differ much from the conditions proposed in April 2015 that were released for public comment. Should they be implemented, the export of Namibian animals will be subjected to very strict tests for animal health.
Namibias livestock sector, on which some 70 per cent of its about 2.5 million inhabitants depend, exports on average 160 000 weaner cattle, 240 000 goats and 100 000 sheep to South Africa each year.
When the stringent veterinary import conditions for the export of all Namibian livestock were introduced in May 2014, only a few live animals could be exported, causing severe losses for farmers. Namibia then requested South Africa to postpone the implementation of the new veterinary conditions.