Local producers in a frenzy over export hoax

by Deon Schlechter

Local producers in a frenzy over export hoax

Windhoek

A report on the website of Landbou Weekblad (Farmers’ Weekly) under the heading ‘Verwarrende reëls vir vee-invoere herroep’ (Confusing rules for livestock imports revoked) caused consernation among Namibian livestock producers since Friday.

Local producers’ initial joy was short-lived as it turned out the article was false and the author spent the most of the day on the red carpet. The online article had communication channels buzzing since the wee hours of Friday and this reporter was also bombarded with questions from local producers wanting to know if there was any truth to the report.



The article ‘quoted’ SA director of animal health Dr Mpho Maya as saying the stringent new import regulations for cattle exported from Namibia have provisionally been revoked after it was implemented on July 1, much to the chagrin of Namibian producers.
Inevitably, the report caused great excitement among especially local weaner exporters and it was thought that these regulations have been relaxed with immediate effect.

Inquiries by New Era to the Meat Board and the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) resulted in general manager of the Meat Board Paul Strydom confirming with Dave Ford of the SA Feedlot Association that the report was indeed false.

Deputy director of DVS Dr John Shoopala also confirmed to New Era that the report was devoid of any truth after consulting with his counterparts in SA.

SA’s revised import regulations for live cattle, goats and sheep are seen by many Namibian producers as a way of “limiting market access, especially for agricultural products, for the benefit of promoting domestic industries.”

On further investigation it transpired the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) which were announced last week and are only applicable on South African feedlots and abattoirs, who would import animals from neighbouring countries, were revoked.

It thus has no influence on the requirements by the SA government with regard to the injecting and testing of animals for inter alia Brucellosis, lung sickness and TB. This means livestock to be exported must still undergo these tests in order to qualify for export.
The new regulations came into effect on July 1 and have since caused huge misery for especially communal farmers, as reported by New Era last week.

Namibian weaner exports to SA have declined to just a trickle of the 180 000 animals sold per annum. The financially draining situation that affects a chain of industries, such as transport and other service providers, resulted in vice president of the Namibian National Farmers Union (NNFU) Abdal Mutjavikua calling for immediate government intervention to halt the implementation of the new and almost impossible to uphold SA livestock import regulations that could be catastrophic to the local industry.

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