LPO wants testing halt

It's mixed news for the livestock industry, with the marketing of cattle that has increased dramatically, while sheep exports are stagnant.

15 October 2018 | Agriculture

Ellanie Smit - The Livestock Producers Organisation (LPO) wants Namibia to declare itself free from tuberculosis and Brucellosis so that farmers are not submitted to tedious testing of livestock when exporting to South Africa.

Currently all cattle that are exported to South Africa have to be tested for tuberculosis while sheep and goats are tested for Brucellosis (excluding sheep born from a certified Brucellosis-free herd). This is to comply with strict livestock export requirements made by South Africa.

According to the LPO annual report that was submitted at its congress held this week, due to the fact that no cattle or sheep tested positive for these diseases, Namibia should declare itself tuberculosis and Brucellosis-free.



Marketing

According to the LPO, the marketing of large stock has increased enormously. Based on figures provided, weaner exports increased by 89% from 2016 to 2017, with exports increasing from 165 927 to 313 401. This is attributed to the low maize prices in South Africa.

The number of cattle slaughtered increased from 129 290 to 171 520 (33%) in the same period. The LPO ascribes the increase in cattle slaughtering to a more accurate figure from the Meat Board, as the amount of hides from the tannery are now also taken into account.

The total marketing of cattle increased by 43% from 295 217 to 484 921.

According to the LPO, the low amount of sheep which were marketed, was alarming. This can be attributed to the small stock marketing scheme and the negative effects thereof, which caused producers in the South to diversify into other farming activities.

Sheep slaughtered decreased from 390 154 to 309 969 (-0.2%) while sheep exported increased slightly, from 290 389 to 393 543 (3%).

The total amount of sheep marketed increased by 3% from 680 543 to 703 512.

The LPO says that due to the large amount of weaners which were exported, there is a lot of pressure to limit weaner exports. The LPO is following a strategy to inform politicians, government, banks and other agricultural unions and producers about how important it is not to place limits on weaner exports.



Prices

Furthermore, the LPO says meat prices have increased from 2016 to 2017.

“Weaner prices have shown a big increase but unfortunately cattle slaughtering prices did not show the same tendency. This is also the reason why so many weaners were exported, because local weaner buyers could not let the weaners mature to slaughter them locally.”

Meanwhile, it says that local small stock abattoirs are still uncom­petitive after Farmers Meat Market in Mariental closed its doors. The concern is even bigger that the local slaughtering capacity is not adequate to slaughter all the small stock.

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