Cattle marketing plunges dramatically

As farmers rebuild their herds after the drought was broken last season, cattle marketing has dropped significantly.

07 September 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



The marketing of cattle has decreased by almost 50% during the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2019, following good rains in cattle-producing areas.

While weaner auction prices performed relatively well, live exports remained subdued. On the other hand, the coronavirus pandemic depressed producer carcass prices due to pressure in the international market. This is according to the latest statistics provided by the Meat Board of Namibia, which attributes the notable decline mainly to farmers rebuilding their herds after the drought.

The sheep sector continues to experience a recession because of drought-depleted flocks.

At the same time, sheep prices in Namibia remained lower than their Northern Cape counterparts for the first half of the year.



Worrying figures

According to the Meat Board the total marketing of cattle declined by 49.64% during the first half of this year, when 126 075 cattle were marketed compared to 250 325 during the same period in 2019.

“Due to persistent drought conditions during the past three years, the production of market-ready animals declined, leading to a significant drop in marketing. The advent of rains commencing in the latter part of 2019 saw producers entering a herd rebuilding phase which continued into the first half of 2020,” says the Meat Board. Auction prices during the first half of 2020 strengthened by 41.29%, averaging N$32.65 per kg compared to the 2019 first-half average of N$23.11 per kg.

“Despite higher than average auction prices, live exports declined by 52.83%, suggesting a severe reduction in production owing to drought.”

Of the cattle marketed, 60% were live exports, 24% were taken up by export abattoirs while B&C class abattoirs enjoyed 16% of the market share. Compared to 2019, live exports and export abattoirs lost 4% and 2% market share respectively.

A total of 20 339 cattle were declared to the Meat Board by registered B&C class abattoirs during the first half of 2020. This compares adversely by 15.78% to 24 149 cattle slaughtered during the first half of 2019.



Sheep flocks shrink

According to the Meat Board the sheep sector continued its downward trend because of declining sheep stock.

Meanwhile, the industry awaits the announcement of policy measures to revive it after the government commissioned a study to review sheep marketing with a view to turning around industry output and adding value, the Meat Board added. A total of 223 831 sheep were marketed during the first half of 2020, compared to 502 718 in 2019. This reflects a 55.48% decrease in total marketing.

Declining by 80.74% during the first half of 2020, export abattoirs recorded weak activity, slaughtering 22 924 sheep compared to 119 022 sheep in the corresponding period last year. Local butchers also experienced decreased slaughtering, registering a decrease of 32.80% from 87 559 sheep in the first half of 2019 to 58 840 sheep in 2020.

Live exports declined 52.03% to 142 067 sheep in the first half of 2020.

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