By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek Stakeholders in the livestock industry on Tuesday resolved to look at the “concept of value addition” following gov-ernment’s decision to impose a levy on livestock exports to South Africa. The stakeholders who included farmers, Meatco, farmers’ unions, the Meat Board, Emerging Farmers Association, import and export companies as well as officials from the ministries of Trade and Industry and Agriculture, Water and Forestry have been tasked to look at the opportunities, challenges and threats posed by the move and to make appropriate recommendations to the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry next month. General Manager of the Meat Board of Namibia Paul Strydom, who convened the meeting said the different stakeholders have been tasked to make a swot analysis against the background that the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry is expected to introduce the levy at the end of the year. Strydom said the Meat Board has been tasked with value addition and thus it was essential to consult all key players in the industry to see how the new levy could impact on their operations. He noted that the idea, which is set to be introduced by government, is about value addition as government feels that Namibia exports too many live animals especially weaners to South Africa every year. “The idea is that more of the livestock should be slaughtered locally and value addition done locally and subsequently create jobs locally.” Strydom however noted that many people and industries are expected to be affected by the impending move. Industries such as the transport industry would be affected. The Meat Board official however refused to go into detail on how the levy would impact on the different players in the value addition chain and said it was now up to the stakeholders to go and review the situation. The Chairman of Meat Board Job Hengari added that the purpose of Tuesday’s meeting was to formulate basic principles on value addition. “This is for the industry to ensure that the producers do not suffer because of value addition and to ensure that the abattoirs also have enough livestock to sustain themselves.” He added that the industry should have a common approach before making appropriate recommendations to the minister in this regard. The export levy is expected to come into effect in November. Last year, communal farmers vehemently opposed a 15 percent goat levy that government wanted to introduce. The levy aimed at value addition and job creation. The government in 2003 through a cabinet decision decided to impose a 15 percent levy on live goat exports, which was exempted for two years until October 31 last year pending the development of markets for goat carcasses. Statistics indicate that of the 260 000 goats that are sold annually in Namibia, 90 percent are exported to South Africa, where a niche market exists among the Zulu and Muslim communities in Kwazulu Natal. This market nets more or less N$40 million every year.
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