MEAT BOARD ATTENDS THE BASELINE AGRICULTURAL OUTLOOK CONFERENCE IN SOUTH AFRICA
On 16 August 2019, Willie Schutz and Desmond Cloete attended the Baseline Agricultural Outlook Conference of the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) in Somerset-West, Cape Town. The conference indicates detailed international trade trends and outlooks and is valuable in that it suggests directional strategies for the meat industry. Indications are that globally, the meat industry has grown with 1,4% and the biggest contributors to this growth are beef, pork and poultry. Countries that mainly contributed to this growth are the EU, Russia and the USA, with additional contributions from Argentina, Australia, India and Mexico. The growth in the meat industry is mainly driven by improved productivity, whereas increased slaughter numbers due to the drought (Australia) are also a factor. There was a decrease in the production of pork in China as a result of the devastating impact of African Swine Fever. On international level the expectation is that there might be a slight increase in nominal prices, while real prices might decline in the medium term as a result of lower meat consumption while, at the same time, production is expanding as a result of the lower feed price cycle. As for the South African market, it is predicted that the slaughter volumes will decline due to a herd building phase that will follow the drought period. Although normally associated with a price increase, it is also predicted that prices will be under pressure due to the Foot and Mouth disease outbreak in South Africa. Meat that generally gets exported are now being locally canalised which results in an oversupply of beef while the buying power of the consumer decreases because of the economic downturn.
MEAT BOARD INITIATES ADDITIONAL MARKET ACCESS FOR NAMIBIAN MEAT PRODUCTS
The Meat Board, in collaboration with the Directorate Veterinary Services, has started negotiations to attain additional market access for bone-in beef and lamb to the European Union, China, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Except for the European Union, and to a lesser extent China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offer opportunities to import bone-in products produced north of the Veterinary Cordon Fence under certain conditions. Every potential importing country is measured according to the potential income Namibia could earn, import conditions set by the importing country and the costs to adhere to such conditions. China already imports a certain amount of Namibian beef.
MEAT BOARD INCREASES SUPPORT TO THE DIRECTORATE VETERINARY SERVICES
The Meat Board is active on several levels to support the Directorate Veterinary Services in a bid to maintain the country’s animal health status. Support is provided in relation to the upkeep of the Veterinary Cordon Fence and the Namibia/Botswana border fences; combating Foot and Mouth disease outbreaks in Zambezi; support to the traceability system; NamLITS; the testing of game for beef Tuberculosis in order to declare the Foot and Mouth disease-free zone officially free of beef tuberculosis in order to eliminate individual beef Tuberculosis testing before export, etc. Due to the financial constraints experienced by Government, the importance of the support to the Directorate Veterinary Services cannot be underestimated.
LIVESTOCK MARKETING ESCALATES AS A RESULT OF THE DROUGHT
Approximately 11% more cattle was marketed during the first part of the year as opposed to the same period of 2018. Compared to the same period last year, export abattoirs slaughtered 56% more cattle than the 246 000 cattle that were marketed. This is mainly because of the price initiative that was offered by the export abattoirs. The average slaughter prices at export abattoirs increased with 9%, whereas export abattoirs on average pay N$7.38/kg more than the equivalent price in South Africa, Argentina and Brazil. Weaner prices have, for the reporting period, however decreased with 28% on a year-to-year basis. In total, 452 000 sheep were slaughtered during the first half of the year, which is merely 0,6% more compared to the same period of 2018. The biggest shift took place regarding the export of sheep and especially animals that are not fit for slaughter and fat tails, as opposed to animals that were offered for local slaughter. Sheep prices fell 15.38% for the half year period on a year-to-year basis, while the price difference between Namibian export abattoirs and South African Northern Cape abattoirs was N$4.84/kg.