27 Jan 2014 09:00am
WINDHOEK, 27 JAN (NAMPA) Cattle and sheep export negotiations between Namibia and South Africa are ongoing as South Africa (SA) is still in the process of harmonising its meat imports requirements.
The Acting Director of the Directorate Veterinary Services, Dr John Shoopala told Nampa on Friday that discussions continue between the veterinary authorities in SA and Namibia about the proposed new import permit system of livestock and products regulations in SA.
What you probably have seen is proposed veterinary conditions by the SA veterinary authorities as they are in the process of harmonising their imports requirements, which are subject to scrutiny and negotiations before they are implemented. This is what we are busy with now, he noted.
The Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU) earlier this month said the South African Veterinary department surprised the Namibian cattle and sheep export market with a series of requirements for the export of livestock to that country.
These requirements inter alia include individual identification of sheep; proof of vaccinations against anthrax (at least 14 days but not longer than 12 months ahead); proof of treatment of internal and external parasites; and proof of origin of herds free of any sicknesses; etcetera, according to a newsletter issued by the NAU dated 17 January 2014.
However, the NAU stressed that the implementation thereof has been put on ice for the time being, but in the meantime, exports are done as usual.
South African red meat producers and advocacy groups have expressed the need for regulation throughout the meat production, packaging and retailing industry, following the meat-labelling scandal last year.
According to SA media reports, these groups pointed the finger at wholesalers, unscrupulous importers and a lack of Government intervention.
Meanwhile, the agricultural sector here recorded an increase in the number of cattle and small stock marketed due to the prevailing drought.
The Bank of Namibia (BoN) Quarterly Report issued late last year stated that the increase in the number of livestock marketed was notable in the exports of live weaners to South Africa.
The total number of cattle marketed increased to 130 825 - the highest number of cattle marketed in a single quarter in the last 10 years. This represented an increase of 35.8 per cent and 115.8 per cent on a quarterly and annual basis, respectively.
The BoN said the increase in the number of cattle was due to aggressive marketing activities, following the devastating drought which affected most parts of the country.