Mariental abattoir to close again
12 August 2020 | Agriculture
The Farmers' Meat Market (FMM) abattoir at Mariental has informed its stakeholders that it will be closing for financial reasons.
The abattoir, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Hartlief corporation, informed the Livestock Producers Organisation of the impending closure in a letter. “Due to the severe ongoing drought and unfavourable trading conditions in the small-stock industry in Namibia, FMM incurred and continues to incur significant financial losses on a monthly basis,” it said. The abattoir said it could not sustain these losses, and that operations must cease.
It said the operating environment for an export-approved abattoir has degenerated to such an extent that the business is no longer viable.
Sheep numbers decline
“The inconsistent and short supply of lamb and mutton is evident nationally at all marketing channels with the entire small stock sector experiencing challenging times.”
According to FMM, many sheep farmers in southern Namibia, who are its main suppliers, faced several years of drought resulting in a continued decline in sheep numbers, with the national herd at the lowest level in decades. It said that from 2004 to 2019, the government regulated the export of live sheep to South Africa by means of the Small Stock Marketing Scheme. “This scheme failed since none of the expected impacts of the scheme were achieved in order to benefit the industry as a whole and it simply added to the reduction in sheep numbers over the last nine years.” The abattoir said the national sheep herd was 2.7 million strong in 2012, which declined to 1.8 million in 2018 and dropped by 60% to a current estimate of fewer than one million sheep in 2020. In September 2017, the abattoir closed its doors for economic reasons and only resumed operations in 2018, after almost a year.