Only 30 000 slaughter cattle in Namibia

Very few slaughter cattle will be available this year and the local market will be the priority, Meatco says.

23 February 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

Namibia has only 30 000 slaughter cattle available at the moment, of which more than 20 000 are needed by Meatco to fill the Norwegian export quota alone.

Meatco’s head of marketing and sales, Andre Mouton, says while the company feels good about the yields they are getting from the market, the availability of slaughter cattle is a problem.

“Namibia’s shortage of slaughter cattle is a problem only to be solved with a long-term vision. The forecast is that very few slaughter cattle will be available this year. The priority in this battle is the local market, so very few cattle will be available for export.”

Mouton says the greatest problem at this stage is managing the lack of throughput as cost-effectively as possible.

“After seven years of drought, farmers have just managed to keep their cows alive. Therefore, most cattle will be young cattle and old cows; the young cows will rebuild herds.”

Dankie Botswana

He said if there are not enough slaughter for the local market, Meatco imports cattle from Botswana.

So far this year, about 900 cattle have been imported. According to him the alternative plan is to market cattle from northern Namibia through a quarantine system, or put them on the world market.

“Meatco hopes to launch this initiative this year, which will make extra meat available for the local market.”

Mouton says another challenge lies ahead in filling Norway’s 2021 quota. Meatco has been allocated 1 200 tonnes of the Norwegian quota for 2021.

“The requirement is between 20 000 and 22 000 cattle if only high-value cuts are to be exported. At this stage, it appears that the country does not have more than 30 000 slaughter cattle available. It is still going to take a long time to recover from the drought. If they manage the problem and the industry comes together to speed up and improve the process, Meatco feels it might take five years.”

Agronomy

Meanwhile white maize marketed increased by 123.3% from the 2019/2020 marketing season to the 2020/2021 season.

There was a good harvest of white maize in 2020/2021 and as such producers marketed 64 509 tonnes of white maize between April and December last year.

“Because of the good rains received, 42% (27 023 tonnes) of maize came from irrigated areas and 58% (37 485 tonnes) came from rainfed production areas,” said the Namibian Agriculture Union (NAU).

According to the NAU, in the 2019/2020 marketing season producers marketed approximately 28 887 tonnes of white maize, 97% of which was from the irrigated production areas.

Wheat marketing has also improved considerably by 174.3% from the 2019/2020 marketing season to the 2020/2021 season.

According to the NAU, 4 466 tonnes of wheat was marketed during the 2019/2020 marketing season, of which almost half came from the Hardap Region.

In the 2020/2021 season producers marketed 11 204 tonnes of wheat, with 1 046 that was still to be marketed as of December last year, says the NAU.

The Hardap Region again recorded the highest marketing tonnage of about 75% (8 719 tonnes).

“Despite the marketing figures for 2020/2021, Namibia remains a net importer of white maize and wheat. Furthermore, the heavy rains received might negatively affect the crops on the fields in some areas.”

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