Beef exports to Angola have decreased from 2 988 live cattle exports in 2014 to 232 in 2015 with no exports being recorded, from May 2015 to December 2015, the Meat Board of Namibia reported.
The board’s latest Chronicle report indicates that the vast difference is a result of the decrease in the US dollar income in Angola and the decrease in the purchasing power attributed mainly due to the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak in the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs).
The meat board stated that in 2015, the live exports of weaners increased from 100 211 in 2014 to 281 965 in 2015. Producers are able to conserve their grazing by reducing their herds. Compared to the 5 year average, both the live export of weaners in 2013 and 2015 were well above the average during these drought years which in turn has a negative effect on the slaughter numbers.
The 2015 total live cattle exports to South Africa however increased by 64.5 % from 2014 to stand at 281 965 in 2015. The Namibian sheep sector was also highly affected by the drought that the country experienced.
“The unavailability of feed meant that producers were unable to produce slaughter ready lambs. A total number of 961 180 sheep were marketed in 2015 showing an increase from 818 670 in 2014. This gives a difference of 142 510 which translates into a percentage increase of 14.8%,” the report indicated.
Policy interventions such as the ‘too lean and too small’ drought marketing scheme were introduced to avoid farmers from losing their sheep due to poor grazing.
“Due to the drought conditions that Namibia experienced in 2015, a general increase in the total marketing of sheep was realised. Out of the total of sheep marketed, 444 927 sheep were slaughtered at the export abattoirs which is more than the live exports to South Africa which were 437 229 in total in 2015,” the chronicle stated.
The Namibian super price proved to be competitive with the Red Meat Abattoir Association’s (RMAA) and Northern Cape price around week 38, however decreasing thereafter specifically in the weeks 41 to week 43. All together A2 prices were volatile with great fluctuations in 2015. The presence of the drought could be one of the main contributing factor which had a direct impact on the availability of quality lambs with preferred live weights (16 kg and above) due to the scarcity of feed.
“The ‘Too Lean Too Small’ drought measure enabled producers to export lambs that were certified as such to South Africa. An alarming price gap in the C2 price of N$8 compared to that of the RMAA price was also observed. Abattoirs were unable to slaughter at full capacity specifically in the last quarter of the year with the Mariental abattoir only utilizing an average of 54% of its total capacity for the whole year,” the report states.
An increase in the total marketing of sheep was observed. Producers destock their herds as a result of the drought conditions. A total of 961 180 sheep were marketed whereby the slaughtering (both at export abattoirs and butchers) made up 53% of the total market share.
Although both the Namibian A2 and C2 prices fluctuated, they remained lower than that of RMAA and Northern Cape prices. The Namibian Super however showed potential of being competitive with only an N$ 1 price difference with that of the Northern Cape.