WINDHOEK – The Meat Board has requested all livestock producers to continue with the marketing of livestock as soon as possible to minimise the detrimental effect of the looming drought.
“The rainy season is not over yet, but the impact is already felt with an oversupply and a decrease in prices. The cattle-producing areas in South Africa are also experiencing a serious drought and it is important to be sensitive to the market in this regard,” the Meat Board says in its latest bulletin. The Sheep Marketing Technical Committee of the Meat Board decided at its last meeting to introduce emergency marketing measures similar to those of 2013, and specifically for lean and small sheep/lambs as well as for concerted auctions of fat-tailed sheep..
The Meat Board is keeping an eye on the situation and will make further adaptations if the need arises. This situation is unfolding while the livestock and crop production industries of agriculture in Namibia is waiting with bated breath on the preliminary results of the agricultural census undertaken in 2014, and the expectation is that the outcome will be made public within days. The outcome of the census has been postponed various times now. An animal livestock census concluded at the end of 2013 showed that the number of all livestock species from 2012 to 2013 declined. The main reason for this was the drought in 2013 which caused many farmers to destock. The same pattern has unfolded in 2015 and producers are getting frantic in order to sell at a reasonable price but their grazing has been seriously depleted.
After a brief and short-lived recovery last year, producers are now back in the same boat. Prices of cattle have increased in the last three weeks while cattle numbers have decreased. According to Agra, the increase in total marketing of livestock in January and February this year 36, 2 percent for cattle, 10, 6 percent for sheep and one percent for goats. Transport remains a huge challenge for producers in this time of drought and speculators Farmers Forum spoke to, said they ran out of razing a long time ago and could not keep livestock in the veldt. Therefore, they had to load livestock immediately to South Africa from local action pens.
It is now clear that Namibian producers are battling to buy under the unfavourable conditions as hardly any of them has got ay grazing left. Namibia is now greatly in the hands of the South African export marke.t
The depletion of Namibian livestock numbers is set to be continued this year as Namibian livestock producers are in the midst of another drought while reserve grazing has been depleted in the past two years. The situation caused the Livestock Producers Organisation (LPO) to declare a state of emergency in February this year already.
Cattle numbers have been steadily dropping since 2012 from 2.904 million to 2.634 million in 2013, which represents a decrease of nine percent. Sheep numbers dropped from 2.67 million to 2.188 million in the same period, which represents a decrease of 18 percent while poultry numbers showed a decline of 30 percent and dropped from 940 765 to 650 033. These numbers exclude Namib Poultry Farm Windhoek.
Donkey numbers are also on the decrease and dropped from 174 946 to just 124 120, which represents a decline of 29 percent while pig numbers dropped by three percent from 69 430 to 67 054. Horse numbers came down from 46 643 to 40 265.