Meat industry still in recovery

29 July 2021 | Agriculture



Overall cattle and sheep marketing continued to decline during the first half of this year while goat marketing is on a positive growth trajectory.

Mid-year marketing figures released by the Meat Board of Namibia indicate that beef sales declined substantially, while an even deeper decline in sheep meat exports which was complimented by increased sheep imports from abroad.

A total of 94 868 cattle were marketed during the first half of 2021, a decline of 25.15% from the level observed in the first half of 2020 when 126 752 cattle were marketed. This performance is 53% lower than the five-year average of 201 334.

“Marketing at export abattoirs, butchers and live markets declined by 21.11%, 36.82% and 23.40%, respectively,” according to the Meat Board.

It said price developments indicate that the Namibian production system is likely to remain more and more weaner-dominant given a narrowing gap between weaner prices and prices paid for slaughter cattle at export abattoirs.


Accordingly, the market share of live exports increased from 59% to 61% of total cattle marketing.

On the meat trading front, beef exports totalled 1 700 tonnes declining by 44.97% during the second of this year, bringing the total year-to-date beef exports to various destinations to 2 563 tons. This is 45.33% lower than the 2020 level.

Beef imports in the second quarter reached 495 tonnes bringing year-to-date beef imports to 988 tonnes, which is an increase of 2.43% year-to-date.

“Beef imports as a percentage of beef exports during the past six months stood at 38.57% which in terms of the trade balance compares adversely with the 20.59% observed last year,” says the Meat Board.

It added that during the first half of 2021, South Africa took up 33.62% of total beef exports while Norway and China took up 25.19% and 18.89% respectively as top destinations.

Sheep sector

According to the Meat Board, the sheep sector recorded growth in the first quarter of 2021 after an extended period of contraction, but then reclined to record a quarterly contraction of 11.17% in the second quarter.

A total of 220 045 sheep were marketed during the first half of 2021, which is 4.72% less than the 230 936 sheep marketed in the first half of 2020.

“The sheep sector’s performance in the first half has been mainly driven by live exports of sheep to South Africa. Slaughter activity at Aranos abattoir, which is the only remaining operational export facility, has been undertaken at uneconomic levels due to a severe shortage of slaughter sheep in the aftermath of the prolonged drought,” says the Meat Board.

Due to reduced slaughter activity at the Aranos abattoir, sheep exports in the first half declined compared to the same period last year. While the first half of last year recorded 229.7 tonnes, this year’s saw only 120.8 tonnes being exported mainly to South Africa with a smaller volume destined for Botswana.

The import of sheep meat remained relatively stable growing by only 1.39%.

Goat sector

An impressive performance in goat marketing was recorded during the second quarter of 2021 with a total of 32 614 goats marketed during the quarter to bring year-to-date marketing to 49 690 goats. This represents a 63.82% increase in marketing.