Cattle marketed decline by nearly 40%

Producers continue to restock herds

01 June 2021 | Agriculture



The total marketing of cattle declined by 39.8% during the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year.

During the first quarter of this year, 41 842 cattle were marketed compared to 69 550 during the corresponding quarter of 2020.

This is according to the Meat Board of Namibia, which said marketable cattle decreased as producers continued to restock herds.

“The notable decline is due to an acceleration in restocking activity, which continued from last year after a persistent drought over the preceding years.”

From the total cattle marketed, 61% were live exports, 22% were taken up by export abattoirs while B&C class abattoirs enjoyed 17% of the market share.

Compared to 2020, live exports lost 9% of its market share, but export abattoirs gained 9%, while butchers maintained 17% of the market share.

The Meat Board said up to 98% of all live cattle exported on the hoof were marketed to South Africa. This is 25 129 animals out of 25 650.

Angola took up 2% of the total live exports. Of these live cattle exports, 99% were weaners and these were destined for South African feedlots.

Furthermore, export-approved abattoirs slaughtered 9 059 heads of cattle during the first quarter of this year, while throughput to export-approved abattoirs during the corresponding quarter of 2020 stood at 8 848 heads of cattle. This is a marginal increase of 2.3%.


Meanwhile, the Meat Board said the sheep sector performed relatively well during the first quarter of 2021, with live exports to South Africa driving the momentum.

“Export abattoirs lost substantial market share to B&C class abattoirs and were the most affected market segment.”

The total sheep marketing during the first quarter of 2021 increased by 2.1% compared to the same period last year.

“This record growth comes after a continues stream of declining performances since the commencement of herd rebuilding in 2020.”

According to the Meat Board, live exports grew by 28.7% during the first quarter of this year, recording 55 251 head of sheep, compared to 42 910 in the 2020 comparable quarter.

Live exports further increased their market share from 54% to 68% while export abattoirs and butchers suffered losses of 11% and 3% respectively.

“There is a growing trend towards the slaughter industry being dominated by butchers as opposed to export approved abattoirs,” the Meat Board said.

It added that export abattoir performance has been adversely affected by the reduced sheep herd and producer price competition from relatively high-paying Northern Cape abattoirs.


During the first quarter of this year, 11 222 pigs were slaughtered by Meat Board-registered abattoirs. This is a 0.01% decline compared to 11 123 pigs during the first quarter of 2020.

Local pork production serviced 49% of the Namibian consumption requirements during the period under review, compared to 52% in 2020.

During 2021, a total of 976 tonnes of pork - excluding processed

Pork - were imported into Namibian markets, representing 51% of

local consumption.

Total pork imports - inclusive of processed pork - amounted to 1 688 tonnes, of which 78.85% was sourced from South Africa.