Cattle marketing boon

Year-on-year, a 9.69% increase was witnessed in the total cattle marketed during the months of January to September 2019.

05 November 2019 | Agriculture

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) conditions in South Africa continue to exert a negative influence on Namibian live cattle exports, while drought-induced marketing and competitive prices offered by export facilities have supported an overall positive performance in the local cattle sector.

Year-on-year, a 9.69% increase was witnessed in the total cattle marketed during the months of January to September 2019, compared to the same period last year.

Marketing increased from 348 381 in the first three quarters of 2018 to 382 149 in the corresponding period of 2019.

According to statistics provided by the Meat Board of Namibia, due to prevailing drought conditions, coupled with better producer prices, slaughtering at export abattoirs increased substantially by 83.21%. This induced an overall improvement of 9.69% in total marketing, even in the face of the poor performance of B and C class abattoirs and live exports that recorded declines of 10.66% and 5.14%, respectively.

The Meat Board said that although weighted average capacity utilisation of export abattoirs for the first three quarters stood at 89.76%, it is worth noting that Meatco alone registered a 93.77% monthly capacity utilisation during the period.

“The increase in total marketing was mainly driven by increased slaughtering at export abattoirs, due to drought conditions forcing farmers to bring their livestock herd to manageable levels. This driving factor was supported by better carcass prices at export abattoirs.”

Of the total cattle marketed, 62% were live exports, 29% were taken up by export abattoirs, while B and C class abattoirs only enjoyed 9% of the market share. Compared to the first three quarters of 2018, live exports lost 10% of market share to export abattoirs, while butchers also lost footing by 2% to export abattoirs.

A total of 10 328 cattle were declared to the Meat Board by the registered B and C class abattoirs during the second quarter of 2019, bringing the total slaughter for the year to date to 33 452 cattle.

This compares adversely with 10.66% to the 37 445 cattle slaughtered during the period January to September in 2018.

For the last quarter of the year livestock prices are expected to improve, owing to expected rainfall that will see less animals earmarked for marketing, in favour of restocking and production.

The Meat Board said although the drought shocked the sheep market, the suspension of the small stock scheme offers the industry an opportunity to evaluate the effect of market forces outside quantitative restrictions. It also provides a chance to devise a strategy for not only the reinforcement of the 'Growth at Home' policy, but also the reversal of the negative production trend in the sheep sector.

According to the Meat Board, the sheep sector performed consistently poorer during the third quarter of 2019, compared to quarter three of 2018. A total of 143 379 sheep were marketed in the third quarter of 2019, compared to 215 846 during quarter three of 2018.

All market segments performed poorly during the third quarter, an unexpected occurrence in a drought year, which is indicative of declining sheep stock.

“A short-term suspension of the small stock scheme was effected to allow the industry to address not only the retention of sheep for slaughtering and value-addition locally, but also the reversal of the downward sheep production trend.”

A total of 632 067 sheep were marketed through various formal channels during quarter one to quarter three of 2019, translating into a 3.59% decrease in comparison to the same period in 2018, when 655 579 sheep were marketed.

“Sheep marketing has consistently recorded a poor performance since the end of the second quarter and during the entire third quarter of 2019.”

While live exports registered a 5.6% increase during January to September 2019, by recording 394 450 sheep compared to 373 576 during the comparable period of the previous year, the increase was insufficient to cause an overall better performance in the sheep sector, due to the steepness of declines in other marketing platforms like export facilities and local butchers.

ELLANIE SMIT

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