Local producers to find new markets: Meatco

28 Jun 2016 14:40pm
WINDHOEK, 28 JUN (NAMPA) - Local producers will need to look for new markets as from next month when South Africa’s new livestock import regulations come into force, says Meatco Chief Executive Officer Vekuii Rukoro.
South Africa will implement new livestock import regulations for Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland as from Friday.
South Africa is one of the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco)’s markets and remains the largest importer of forequarter cuts.
“Currently, South Africa takes approximately 42 per cent of Meatco’s beef exports, but year-on-year returns from this market have diminished.
“As we expect more weaners to become available locally due to the increased cost to export them to South Africa, another challenge will be to find a market for the small weaner below 220 to 230 kilogrammes,” said Rukoro in the company’s 2015/2016 report issued on Friday.
Meatco warned that any decision by the South African Government to make import measures for weaners more restrictive, due to pressure from South Africa’s National Animal Health Forum, can only have negative consequences for local producers.
Namibian communal farmers are the leading weaner producers in the country. Previously, more than 150 000 animals were destined for South Africa per year.
Due to South Africa’s population size, income levels and proximity it remains a lucrative regional market for some of the beef products, and represents Meatco’s biggest market by volume in Africa. Currently, South Africa takes approximately 42 per cent by volume but only 21 per cent in value of Meatco’s beef exports. Year-on-year returns from this market is still diminishing as a result of an unstable economy and a downward trend in consumer purchasing, according to the report.
Meanwhile, Chairperson of the Livestock Producers Organisation Mecki Schneider was quoted in the report as saying that these requirements are based on trade restrictions requested by the South African Red Meat Producers’ Organisation, because they have no system in place to control the flow of animals to and from South Africa.
“We have conducted endless meetings and discussions and have been involved in non-stop correspondence. We have no alternative but to ask President Hage Geingob to address the issue at the highest level,” said Schneider.
The South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) revised import requirements applicable to imports of live cattle, sheep and goats from neighbouring countries.
The requirements aim to ensure consistency with the World Trade Organisation agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. One of the requirements is that the contents of a new official veterinary import certificate should accompany the standard handling procedure.
The new regulations demand that a whole cattle herd has to be tested for Tuberculosis and Brucella bovis (lung sickness).