Sheep exports up by 32%, pork imports increase with 42%

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Staff Reporter

Windhoek-Namibia exported 32.2 percent more live and slaughtered sheep than in the corresponding period last year, according to statistics supplied by the Meat Board of Namibia.

The 32.3% increase in live sheep exported can be attributed to the competitive prices fetched in South Africa compared to the Namibian abattoirs’ average prices, as well as the utilisation of the sheep quota that was available by some producers. As a result producers prefer to export their sheep.

Comparing year-on-year, a 12.4% increase in sheep slaughtered at export abattoirs is observed. Compared to 2016, better rains were received this season and therefore more slaughter-ready sheep were available for the abattoirs. The good rainfall and the better grazing conditions will be the driving factors for any anticipated further increase.

A total of 18 230 sheep were slaughtered at the B&C class abattoirs. This resonates into an 8.60% share of the market, compared to the 50% share for live sheep exports, and 41.70% slaughtered at the export abattoirs. If the price difference between Namibian abattoirs and those of the Northern Cape continues to increase, live exports are expected to increase given the quota that is available to exporters.

Despite the drought marketing measures in place for the exportation of sheep without an export quota, producers are failing to fully utilise it. No sheep was exported under the too-lean-too-small scheme, similarly to the fat tail exemption scheme. The fact that both schemes are under- or not utilised at all can be attributed to the fact that producers complain about the administrative stress surrounding both schemes.

However, between January and March this year, 99% of sheep were exported under the sheep quota system with only three sheep exported for breeding purposes. All three sheep export abattoirs slaughtered below the 80% capacity despite an increase in the number of sheep slaughtered compared to 2016. The total number slaughtered moved from 68 968 in 2016 to 78 789 in 2017.

The Farmers Meat Market only utilised 25% of its capacity compared to the other two abattoirs. However, this is mainly due to the fact that they have a much bigger slaughtering capacity than the rest.

The Keetmanshoop abattoir slaughtered at 50% capacity. The high percentage utilisation can be attributed to the fact that Brukarros does not slaughter sheep every day and therefore the sheep slaughter capacity alone is much smaller than the Aranos and Mariental abattoirs.

Lamb prices posted marginal gains in the Republic of South Africa (RSA) which resulted in the price difference that increased to N$6/kg in week 16. Increased price differences have a direct impact on the live exportation as the price is more appealing in the RSA. Despite the price differences, producers are still compelled to slaughter at Namibian abattoirs as per the regulations of the small stock marketing scheme.

The Northern Cape prices remain firm despite the slight decrease as a result of an oversupply of A2 sheep in the market from Namibia and within South Africa.

With regard to the C2 sheep prices, a decreasing trend can be seen in Namibian sheep prices, specifically decreasing from N$44.33/kg in February to N$38.33/kg in week 16. Low skin prices seemingly affect the Namibian producer price. Farmers were able to grow their breeding stock due to the better rains and grazing and more c-grades are becoming available for slaughter as producers choose to provide their best quality sheep for slaughtering.

By implication the three export abattoirs are left to slaughter much lower quality sheep due to the prices paid to producers. A difference of N$5.17 was realised between the two prices in week 16.

Pork imports increase
The total weight of pork imported from January to March this year stood at 602 tonnes. This represents an increase of 42.22% compared to the 1 042 tonnes imported last year over the same reported period. Between January and March 2016 a total of 982 tons of pork was slaughtered locally compared to the 975 tons of pork slaughtered between January and March 2017. This shows a decrease of 0.7% between these two years.

Pork imports between January and March this year made up 38% of the total market share while local slaughtering accounted for 62% of the total market share. The high percentage of locally slaughtered pork can be attributed to two factors, namely the high production of pigs currently in Namibia and the Pork Market Share Promotion Scheme that ensures that imports are reduced as importers are compelled to first purchase locally produced pork carcasses before an import permit is issued.

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