Cattle, sheep marketing dominates livestock sector

Halleluya Ndimulunde

A total of 66 897 livestock animals were marketed in January 2024, recording an increase of 13 093 from the 53 804 recorded in the previous January, and a slight decline from the 79 148 marketed in December 2023.

In an agricultural monthly report for January, Simonis Storm Securities economic researcher Halleluya Ndimulunde says cattle marketing in particular saw an increase, with 20 398 head of cattle marketed, compared to 12 659 in December 2023.

According to Livestock and Livestock Products Board of Namibia (LLPBN) statistician Fransina Angula, the growth in cattle sector marketing is credited to increased exports of weaners to South Africa, primarily due to anticipated improvements in grain harvests that would enhance feeding margins.

Furthermore, goat marketing witnessed an uptick, with 6 596 animals marketed during January 2024, compared to 5 554 goats during the same period in 2023, the LLPBN says.

The pig sector also experienced growth, with 4 306 pigs marketed through approved abattoirs during January 2024, reflecting a 13,6% increase from the 3 791 pigs marketed in January 2023.

However, the LLPBN says on its website that 431 250kg of pork was imported during the period under review to cover local consumption shortfalls.

Sheep, however, dominated the market, with 35 597 marketed in January 2024, Ndimulunde notes.

The sector recorded a growth of 31,6%, led by live exports and slaughtering at A-class abattoirs.

Year on year, live exports, particularly to the South African market, expanded by 64,1%, growing from 16 085 head of cattle in 2023 to 26 399 in 2024.

In addition, slaughter activities at export-approved abattoirs grew by 98,5% in January this year.

“Analysing the destinations for Namibian beef exports, we saw that Europe continues to be the primary market, absorbing a weighty share of the exports.

“For January 2024, Europe maintained its lead, obtaining 79,6% of the total 640 65 tonnes exported,” Ndimulunde says.

African nations, with South Africa at the forefront, imported around 105,7 tonnes, making up 16,5% of the exports.

China has solidified its position as a key market within the ‘rest of the world’ category, accounting for 25 122 tonnes of the beef exported from Namibia.

“Europe remains a major destination for Namibian beef, representing a substantial portion of the total exports. South Africa is a significant African market, demonstrating the importance of regional trade relationships.”

China’s emergence as a key market emphasises Namibia’s success in diversifying its export destinations and tapping into growing economies.

“Overall, the distribution highlights the strength of Namibian beef in international markets and the effectiveness of strategic export initiatives,” Ndimulunde says.

According to the LLPBN, generally, marketing is known to start slow during the first month of the year due to reduced activities, however, this was not the case during January 2024, as all sectors have recorded increased activities during the period under review.

“Increased activity mirrors drought expectations in the highly active central and southern regions,” the board says.

Meanwhile, Ndilumunde says fish maintained its status as one of the non-mineral products among the top five export items, securing the third position on the list and contributing 9,6% to total exports.

Primarily, fish were exported to Spain, Zambia, and Mozambique during December 2023, resulting in a trade surplus of N$1,1 billion for the month.

The value of fish exports saw a year-on-year increase of 15,2% in December 2023, compared to the 20,0% year-on-year growth recorded in November 2023.

Meanwhile, the Namibian Agronomic Board restricted imports of most controlled products during January 2024, except for washed potatoes and lettuce.

This exception was due to insufficient local supply of these items to meet demand.

In Windhoek, the average retail price for 1kg of potatoes was N$30,59, with an average farm gate price of N$13,45.

Additionally, the average retail price for a head of lettuce stood at N$33,42, while the average farm gate price was N$20, Ndimulunde says in the report.

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