Prolonged drought in Namibia shrinks export market for beef products

NAMIBIA – Namibia’s beef export drastically declined from 26.6 million kilograms of 2019 to 8.4 million kilograms in 2020, attributed to the fact that livestock producers are rebuilding herds following the prolonged drought season.

Data from the Meat Board of Namibia, has indicated that the country marketed 219 525 fewer cattle than in 2019 leading to the decline in number of cattle slaughtered which was 51 992 compared to 129 735 cattle in 2019.

European countries, including Norway and the United Kingdom, took up a combined 3.3 million kilograms compared to 9.7 million kilograms in 2019, reports The Namibian

China, which consumed 3.9 million kilograms of Namibian beef in 2019, only imported 1.4 million kilograms in 2020, accounting for 16.7% of the 2020 Namibian beef exports. While, the US took up 550 576 kg.

The beef exports fell despite the expansion of the country’s beef market last year, as the USA came into the mix following 18 years of extensive negotiations between the two countries.

In March 2019, Namibia became the second African country, after South Africa, to meet China’s beef import requirements following negotiations that began in 2011 when an agreement on animal health and quarantine was signed in Beijing.

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Despite the country expanding its export market, it still imports meat (beef, pork and mutton) from around the world.

Namibia’s beef export declined from 26.6 million kilograms in 2019 to 8.4 million kilograms in 2020

Last year, the arid southern African nation imported 3.4 million kilogram of pork and 2.7 million kilograms of processed, canned pork and beef, which is more than the volume of 2019.

Namibia also imported 887 615 kilograms of beef and 199 322 kilograms of mutton.

The various meat and processed meat products came from as far as Australia, UK, Asia, Spain and other unnamed sources.

In 2020, the country’s total meat imports amounted to 7.1 million kilograms.

The government is still raking in support to bolster the sector as it recently relaunched operations at the Katima Mulilo abattoir after injecting N$14 million (US$845K) to renovate the facility.

Meatco, a meat processing and marketing entity who was managing the government owned facility closed the doors of Katima Mulilo and Oshakati abattoirs in 2015 due to operational losses of almost N$43 million (US$2.59m) during the 2014/15 financial year.

The newly renovated slaughter house underwent a test run in July. It has the capacity to slaughter about 110 head of cattle per day and will create more employment opportunities for locals.

In other related news, the Namibia Agronomic Board (NAB) has prohibited carrot, butternut, beetroot, cabbage and English cucumber imports for February to promote local procurement.

Apart from the temporary ban on these products, a pro-rata import allocation has been implemented for seven other fresh products, namely green peppers, gem squash, sweet potatoes, sweet melons, round/jam tomatoes, watermelons and onions.

This means retailers and import agents are only allowed to import 30% of these products, and will have to procure the rest locally – unless expected supply changes.

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