WINDHOEK – The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Alpheus !Naruseb says the increase in the number of livestock exported to foreign countries, negatively impacts on the availability of livestock throughput at local abattoirs.
In 2016, the country exported 164,220 and 315,198 livestock in 2017 to neighbouring South Africa and to Europe, where livestock farmers maximise their profits due to high demand for Namibian beef.
!Naruseb says this situation deepens the triplets of unemployment, poverty and inequality in the country.
“I am conscious that some farmers argue that they export weaners,
mainly due to the fact that they do not have sufficient grazing to grow weaners to slaughter ready cattle,” said !Naruseb in a speech delivered on his behalf during the Meatco AGM on Friday.
“This challenge is not insurmountable. For instance, government, farmers and the private sector can work together towards the creation of fodder production schemes, feed processing plant and feedlots,” he said.
He said some alternative voices are of the view live exports of weaners happens because there is no local slaughter capacity.
As such, he urged Meatco to incorporate in its strategy, the diversification of slaughter lines at its abattoirs to include weaners.
!Naruseb says often times, “we tend to think individualistic and overlook the importance of the greater good of all. Albeit in some instances less profitable than in some export markets, the local market for livestock continues to be viable”.
He said it should therefore naturally follow that, as patriotic producers of livestock farmers should support the development of the economy by availing livestock to domestic value chains.
He said the overall challenge for Namibia’s meat industry is to formulate strategies that will make the meat industry sustainable.
“The different geographical animal health zoning status in Namibia has resulted in the situation where livestock and livestock products from the Northern Communal Areas (NCA) experience restricted access to both the domestic and international markets,” he said.
According to him, this limits the potential of socio-economic benefits to NCA farmers, their dependents and the national economy in general.
“Government has taken the decision to work towards the extension of the FMD free area to the borders with Angola, to include the FMD protection zone,” he said.
He said this work is underway and is being implemented through various projects under the Directorate of Veterinary Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.
!Naruseb used the opportunity to comment Meatco, for its initiative to contribute to the Growth at Home Strategy through its backward integration.
“This action forms part of creative efforts to work with producers in order to retain slaughter ready cattle within the borders of our country,” he said.
He further commended Meatco for developing and taking advantage of the various lucrative international markets that government has opened over the years, through trade negotiations.