Namibia imports 43,8% of its pork

Nearly half of all pork consumed in Namibia during the first quarter was imported to meet local demand.

During the first quarter of 2024, 1 959 tonnes of pork, excluding processed pork, were imported into the Namibian market, representing 43,8% of local consumption.

This is according to the latest newsletter by the Livestock and Livestock Products Board of Namibia.

Speaking on whether the drought has impacted local capacity to meet pork demands, a local pig farmer who prefers to remain anonymous says the ongoing drought and predicted drier conditions are not a concern to them.

“The drought is not much of a concern as we do not source pig feed locally. Most of the feed is imported,” he says.

According to him, the only element of them being affected, is when prices go up in South Africa.

Total pork imports, including processed pork, amounted to 2 225 tonnes.

According to the newsletter, the livestock and meat industry experienced an increase in marketing activities during the first quarter of 2024, marking significant growth across various sectors.

Notably, the cattle sector achieved a growth rate of 47,9%, while the sheep, goat and pig sectors also saw substantial increases exceeding 10%.

Despite this growth, the industry is bracing for challenging conditions as farmers prepare for drier weather in the coming months.

The cattle sector witnessed improvements, particularly in live exports and activities at A-class abattoirs, although B- and C-class abattoirs saw a decline.

“During the first quarter of 2024, we marketed 86 693 cattle across all channels, marking a 47,9% increase from the 58 607 heads marketed in the same quarter last year,” says the newsletter.

This increase can be attributed to increased marketing activities, especially in the final month of the quarter, which saw a rise in animals slaughtered at A-class abattoirs.

Of the total marketed cattle, 66,4% were exported live to neighbouring SADC states, while 24,5% were processed at local A-class abattoirs and 9,1% at B- and C-class abattoirs.

“Live exports gained a remarkable 15,5% market share compared to 2023, indicating a strong demand in neighbouring regions,” says the newsletter.

However, domestic auction weaner prices faced downward pressure, with the average price south of the veterinary cordon fence dropping to N$24,74 per kg, down from N$26,57 in January to N$22,13 in March 2024.

“The outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in South Africa severely impacted producer prices, with the Red Meat Abattoir Association paying N$12,75 per kg less than its Namibian counterpart,” reads the newsletter.

The sheep sector recorded a 15,7% increase in activity, primarily driven by live exports.

“Live exports of sheep grew by 29,3%, from 118 853 heads in the first quarter of 2023 to 153 713 in 2024,” says the newsletter.

Despite this growth, A-, B- and C-class abattoir activities declined by 12% and 20,8%, respectively.

Export-approved abattoirs and smaller abattoirs lost market share, now accounting for 11% and 10,5% of total marketing.

The price difference between Namibian sheep export abattoirs and Northern Cape abattoirs widened, with the Namibian A2 producer price averaging N$72,79 per kg, compared to N$78,10 in the Northern Cape.

“Northern Cape producer prices serve as a benchmark for Namibian producers, given that most of our sheep exports are destined for that region,” the newsletter says.

The goat sector saw a 12,1% increase in total marketing, driven by a rise in live exports.

“Live exports of goats increased by 18,8%, recording 23 331 heads compared to 19 616 during the same period in 2023,” says the newsletter.

Live exports accounted for 99,7% of all marketed goats, with B- and C-class abattoirs handling only 0,3%.

The pork sector also experienced growth, with pig slaughtering activities increasing by 10,3%.

“During the first quarter of 2024, 12 253 pigs were slaughtered, up from 11 113 in the same period last year,” reads the newsletter.

According to the newsletter, the livestock and meat industry has demonstrated significant growth in the first quarter of 2024, with live exports playing a crucial role.

However, challenges such as price pressures and disease outbreaks in neighbouring regions pose ongoing threats to the industry’s stability.

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