Cattle industry suffering due to shortage of livestock

01 Feb 2014 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 01 FEB (NAMPA) – Namibia’s cattle and slaughter industry will suffer for the next three years due to the shortage of livestock after the drought.
The Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco)’s Regional Procurement Manager, Koos Classens was quoted as saying in the company’s latest newsletter issued on Friday that farmers do not have enough animals to produce optimally.
“This can be ascribed to the fact that producers were forced to sell much of their livestock last year to avoid running into business losses because of a lack of grazing as a result of the drought. Thus, the availability of slaughter cattle in Namibia is at an all-time low and Meatco expects to slaughter only about 78 000 head of cattle - the lowest in the corporation’s history,” he said.
Meatco’s Executive for Policy Innovation, Stakeholder Relations and Corporate Affairs Vehaka Tjimune also indicated that cattle which would have been slaughtered this year were exported to such an extent that there will be very few slaughter oxen for 2014.
He said the weaners exported last year would have been the reserve animals for 2014, which would have supplied the slaughter stock of 2015.
“This means that low numbers of slaughter stock will continue until 2015. The following year, 2016, will also be a challenge for the industry since many cows that should have calved this year, left the country on the hoof. This means that fewer calves will be born in Namibia in 2014, with a knock-on effect on the rest of the local cattle industry, resulting in reduced availability of slaughter stock in 2016 as well,” he stressed.
Up until September last year, 222 206 on-the-hoof cattle were exported from Namibia to South Africa and Angola. Meatco slaughtered 98 392 cattle during that period, including cattle from the Northern Communal Areas (NCA). The other local abattoirs and butcheries slaughtered 34 286 heads of cattle. Statistics indicated that 63 per cent of all cattle marketed during the same period were exported. These exports were a combination of weaners, cows and slaughter oxen, according to Tjimune.