Sheep production has in the past 15 years decreased from about 1.2 million per annum to about 700,000 in 2017, contributing to the shrinking of the small stock industry by almost 50 percent.
More job opportunities were destroyed in the primary sector of the industry compared to what was attempted to be created in abattoirs. The Livestock Producers Organisation (LPO) thinks that producers cannot be held responsible for the subsidisation of others and financing the industrialisation of Namibia.
This message was conveyed in the clearest possible language to the technical committee of the Meat Board of Namibia during an urgent meeting last week. The committee comprises all role players in the small stock industry and mainly addresses problems with the implementation of the Small Stock Marketing Scheme. Producers again expressed their dissatisfaction with regard to the impact the Small Stock Marketing Scheme has on the whole economy.
Sheep producers affected by drought are reminded that the scheme makes provision that sheep that are “too small or too lean” may be exported. This includes sheep that weigh less than 36 kg and are classified as fat grade (0). To be able to market sheep under this condition of the scheme, sheep producers must apply to the Meat Board livestock agent. The agent and abattoir representative or a Meat Board representative will then certify whether the sheep qualify under the “too small or too lean” condition and are not suitable for slaughter. In case of a dispute, the Meat Board will make use of a carcass classifier to determine whether the sheep comply to the set conditions.
Similar terms and conditions apply to the export of fat tail sheep.
The Meat Board last year approved an additional condition to the scheme.
This condition stipulates: “In the case where a producer sells sheep to an abattoir for slaughtering, and the producer does not get paid by that particular abattoir within seven working days for the sheep delivered, that producer will get an additional sheep export quota, equal to or less than the number of sheep delivered to the abattoir.”