New strategies needed for livestock sector

07 November 2019 | Agriculture

New strategies need to be formulated to address the shortcomings in the livestock farming sector and prepare it for the future.

A competitive analysis of the meat industry in Namibia was done by the Meat Board of Namibia, specifically focusing on the meat export value chains versus the livestock export value chains.

The study also compared Namibia with other major meat exporters such as Uruguay, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

The study was conducted by Optimal Agricultural Business Systems, a group of reputable independent agricultural economists.

“Investigating the growth in the contribution of the agriculture and forestry and livestock farming sectors to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 1981 to 2018, the agriculture and forestry sector grew by 2%, while the livestock sub-sector grew by 0.7%,” said the Meat Board.

According to the Meat Board, year-on-year fluctuations in their contribution to the GDP since 1991 also became evident.

“Various factors could be attributed to the fluctuations, such as periodic droughts, abattoir inefficiencies and export interventions.”

The study modelled the financial benefits to be accrued to the agricultural GDP if local slaughter and finishing of livestock could be achieved, which indicated an increase of 100 000 marketable animals in the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs) and a 10% carcass price increase.

Furthermore, it indicated improved carrying capacity (10% increase in production) for NCAs and areas south of the Veterinary Cordon Fence.

A shift from weaner production towards ox production could increase the livestock sector's contribution to GDP by N$914 million, resulting in an increase of 23%.

“It is thus of crucial importance that beef produced in the NCAs could be exported to financially viable markets and that the green scheme projects of AgricBusDev produce fodder for feedlot weaners in Namibia.”

The Meat Board said it is therefore important that all stakeholders in the Namibian meat industry under the auspices of the agriculture ministry meet to address the shortcomings in the industry and formulate new strategies to position the meat industry five years ahead.

“Such an exercise to restore fundamentals in economic growth (GDP) is not new and occurs on a regular basis in most meat -exporting nations.”

Areas to focus on should be the export of beef from north of the Veterinary Cordon Fence, developing the correct policy mix to enhance local value addition without eroding the primary sector, and implementing a post-drought recovery strategy by not interfering with the market channel.



ELLANIE SMIT

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