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Ohangwena dominates NCA in cattle numbers…But No Abattoirs, Just Weddings

By: Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus

The Northern Communal Areas have around 1,63 million cattle distributed among eight regions, and at the individual region level, more of this beef raw materials are housed in the Ohangwena Region.

The region has 359,419 cattle, with only Oshikota coming closer with 216 218 cattle.

Country-wise, Ohangwena is second regarding cattle numbers after Otjozondjupa Region, which has 494,927.

According to a recent livestock survey done by the Directorate of Veterinary Services, the results were released by Meat Board Namibia two weeks ago.

However, the eight regions only got their exporting abattoir in the last two years, situated in the Foot Mouth Disease prone Zambezi Region- however, with Commodity Based Trade approach being used by Meatco, the abattoir has been slaughtering.

According to the survey, Zambezi Region is third within NCA in terms of cattle number, housing 163,275 cattle, followed by the Kavango West region, which has 146 200 beef raw material/cattle.

Kunene Omusati and the Kavango East regions all have more than 80 000 but less than 100 000 cattle or raw materials for beef and other products.

According to the Veterinary Services Survey results, all the northern regions have 1,627,223 cattle or agricultural assets for beef or other finished products.

Observations notes that have been coming from the NCA producers have been about lack of market for their cattle and the redline restrictions which locked them out from lucrative domestic export market due to the prevalence of FMD and other factors.

However, another observation made by The Villager is that the two regions that house many cattle in the NCA do not even have a private commercial large abattoir to supply the north, and many of the government-assisted abattoirs in Oshaklati and Eenhana failed or barely developed into anything.

Despite government directives to procure local, which only get to be mentioned in speeches, no follow-up implementation plans or restrictions on the southern beef that is exported to the north have been made.

Moreover, there has not been notable commercial auctioning of cattle in the NCA for slaughter or breeding.

In the midst of all, there is a call to remove the redline for various reasons cited by various commentators and supporters.

In the first months of 2022, these producers have just availed or supplied 5 146 heads to be slaughtered at northern commercial registered butcheries and to their NCA one export abattoirs, according to Meat Board’s latest statistics. Other suppliers were not captured.


By the time of the survey, the country had 2,54 million (2 542 993) cattle or beef raw materials for domestic butchering and exporting.

The north of the redline rules in numbers with 1,6 million cattle. This could be because they barely slaughter and keep their animals till old age or unless kapana vendors and weddings came through.

Moreover, there is a lack of commercial butchers and abattoirs.

South of the redline, five regions had 915,770 cattle by the time of the survey.

The only region in the south that beat Ohangwena in terms of cattle numbers is Otjozondjupa which house 494,927 cattle or beef raw material, furthermore topping the country in the number of cattle.

It is also worth highlighting that the Otjozondjupa has access to more commercial butcheries and exporting abattoirs providing raw material and managing to restock.

Second in cattle number in the south is the Omaheke, which houses the self-proclaimed cattle country, Gobabis, which had 348 532 cattle at the time of the survey.

Year-to-date marketing for the first eight months of 2022 indicates that producers around the country have supplied 166,442 heads for slaughter at export abattoirs and local butchers. This highlights a 10.22 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2021, with export abattoirs and live exports leading the year-to-date growth.

The southern regions and producers are leading in supplying throughputs or raw material due to generating.

For the eight months, the northern abattoir in Zambezi regions have only slaughtered 2,553 heads while the commercial butcheries slaughtered 2,593. Email:

Julia Heita

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