Middle East shows promise for Nam beef

With current markets Foot-and-Mouth Disease sensitive Middle Eastern markets offer a viable alternative.

06 November 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



The Meat Board of Namibia has recently conducted research into several Middle Eastern markets for the export of Namibian beef, which have delivered promising results.

According to the Meat Board, it has over the past few years launched several studies and investigations in a bid to identify evolving markets.

“In terms of beef, the South African, United States, Norwegian and European Union (EU) markets were initiated either by the Meat Board or in conjunction with Meatco.” The Meat Board said follow-up animal health and meat hygiene negotiations are then conducted by the directorate veterinary services, while trade agreements, where applicable, are conducted by the Agricultural Trade Forum. It said current markets are, however, Foot-and-Mouth Disease sensitive and therefore Middle Eastern markets can offer alternatives.



Drought impact

The Meat Board said it is aware that it must remain cognisant of current limited cattle numbers and subsequent reduced beef production because of the 2019 drought. However, further research on alternative markets will not necessarily lead to more market utilisation, it said.

“Current markets such as the South African weaner calf market and EU beef market remain extremely profitable for Namibian producers.”

Despite this, year-on-year export cattle marketing has gone down by up to 50%, according to Meat Board statistics. This caused a ripple effect on especially income and secondary industries.

In 2019, a total of 463 000 cattle were marketed, while approximately 27 000 tonnes of beef were exported to the EU, South Africa, China and Norway.

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