Bumper grape harvest expected

Cattle and sheep marketing has shown a drastic decline, but grape producers expect a bumper harvest this year.

30 October 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

The strong growth experienced in the grape sector will not be sufficient to balance the effect of the weak performance of the livestock sector.

Therefore, Agribank will continue to promote diversification into other crops and emerging industries such as biomass and poultry.

This is according to Agribank’s Monthly Market Watch report for October.

According to the report, the good rain received in 2020 has restored hope in the agricultural sector and Namibian table grape producers expect a bumper harvest this year.

The country expects to export about 7.4 million cartons compared to 6 million exported in last year.

Livestock scarce

On the other hand, the total number of small stock marketed declined by 23.9% to 21 000 in September and dropped by 59% year-to-date.

Similarly, the number of small stock slaughtered declined by 59% to 102 000 year-to-date.

The report says that apart from the low marketing as a result of the drought, the closure of the Mariental abattoir aggravated the issue.

“The drastic increase in the price for sheep can be attributed to low supply of these animals in the market. Successful restocking by farmers will require a financial and business strategy restructuring.”

With regard to cattle numbers, the report says that 2020 continues to show weak performance when compared to the year before, but there has been a modest improvement in the weaner price since the lockdown in April 2020.

Although the number of cattle marketed declined by 49.5% year-to-date, cattle marketed north of the Veterinary Cordon Fence recorded an uptick of 50.3% year-to-date to 1 231.

“The success of Katima abattoir could further spur the slaughtering activities that side of the red line.”

For the karakul pelt industry, the consumer and business environment remain challenging, especially for cross-border trades.

“The pelts market is highly dependent on the recovery of international market demands, which has been proven low due to the pandemic.”

As a result, the volume of pelts traded declined by 78% to 12 000 in 2020, compared to a 16% decline to 54 000 the year before.

The price remained relatively strong, declining only by 24% during the prior under review.

Corona havoc continues

Agribank warns that the second wave of Covid-19 and the reimposition of lockdown measures in the northern hemisphere could worsen the karakul pelt market.

Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom are experiencing record numbers of Covid-19 cases, which is threatening their ability to test, trace and contain the virus. Closer to home, South Africa has also recorded increased coronavirus infections.

It says that while Namibia has relaxed some of its coronavirus measures, a resurgence will reverse the projected economic growth prospects.

The bank concludes that the Namibian economy is expected to rebound by 2.2% in 2021, but the continuing pandemic could affect the projections.

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