Prolonged drought devastates Namibia’s livestock sector as production declines

NAMIBIA – According to the first quarter agricultural review of 2020 by the Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU), the amount of cattle and sheep marketed during the period reduced by 31.4% and 59.2% respectively.

The reduction is attributed to the fact that livestock producers are rebuilding herds following the marketing of a large amount of breeding stock during the prolonged drought season aimed to prevent major livestock and financial losses.

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Data of the Meat Board of Namibia, indicate that the country exported 63, 417 live head of cattle in the first quarter of 2019, compared to the 48, 896 live head of cattle exported in the same period this year, registering a 22.9% decrease.

Export abattoirs slaughtered 9, 111 head of cattle a 56.6% decline from the 20, 991 head of cattle slaughtered in 2019 the same period, reports The Namibian.

The B- and C-class abattoirs reported a throughput of 9, 225 head of cattle and 6, 238 head of cattle in the first quarter of 2019 and 2020, respectively.

According to Researcher Bertha Ijambo, the trend of reducing slaughter and throughput numbers is attributed to the fact that farmers had fewer animals to market.

In terms of auction, the cows market decreased by 12.2%, with 15,634 cows auctioned compared to 17, 804 cows in 2019.

Generally, the country received good rains in cattle-producing areas, which improved natural pasture and in turn increased the marketing of medium-sized cows by 8.2%, while the marketing of lean cows declined by 31%.

Sheep export abattoirs received approximately 52,903 sheep in Q1-2019, while in Q1-2020 about 14,700 sheep were exported, showing a major decrease of 72.2%.

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In the first quarter of 2019, the country had 104,196 live sheep exported, compared to 42,910 in the first quarter of 2020, decreasing by 58.8%.

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