The Ministry of Agriculture’s state veterinarian, Dr. Frank Clotate has revealed that there has been a steady decrease in the export of game meat in the last seven years.
He said that abattoirs have experienced challenges in finding markets to export to.
“There are a number of reasons but one of the main issues is that the abattoirs are only exporting mostly to South Africa and they slaughter because of local consumption.
“Back in the days we have witnessed game meat being exported to European and Asian markets but due to new regulations and testing methods, the abattoirs pulled out or either started to concentrate more on the local markets,” he said.
Game meat has to be lab-tested under specific conditions, unlike domesticated meat, which has been a challenge since Namibia still does not possess the right equipment to carry out some of the required tests to cater for game meat exports.
According to statistics, in 2010 a total number of 6 185 wild animals were slaughtered for export and domestic consumption purposes.
Veterinary public health rules and guidelines ensure that meat export establishments meet standards and requirements of trading partners by ensuring compliance with international legislations, conventions, protocols and agreement on trade related to veterinary matters; inspection , evaluation and recommendation of export establishments for trade in animal products.
This also involves monitoring and guiding export abattoirs for minimum standards including infrastructure specification, procedures and quality and export certification for animal products.
One of the factors that caused the decrease in game meat exports is also contamination that happen during the slaughtering process at abattoirs.
“The Directorate of Veterinary has worked with industry and stakeholders from South Africa to establish sources STEC contamination as it can occur during pre-slaughter, during slaughter and post slaughter processing,” Clotate said.
He added that there is a need for interventions like improving the industry’s contribution to sustainable wildlife by creating an enabling environment for professional game farming and harvesting, increased output of high quality meat by supporting new investments in game meat production on local, regional and international markets.
Namibia has exported over 1000 tonnes of game meat worth more than N$50 million to South Africa and game meat products of 456 tonnes valued at N$11 million and the export activities have largely been confined to small amounts of processed products such as biltong and dried sausages.
In 2014 and 2015 export volumes of both game meat and game products fell with game meat exports plummeting to 86 tonnes.