All Eyes Now On Joint Committee to Save Namibia Livestock Exports

A joint technical committee of Namibia and South Africa was established last Friday in Pretoria to resolve the unilaterally imposed stringent animal health conditions by South Africa on the exportation of Namibian livestock.

This was confirmed by Permanent Secretary of the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Joseph Iita who says Namibia requested the meeting to postpone the implementation of the new veterinary requirements until a solution is found. South Africa gave a commitment in finding an amicable solution in finalising the aspects of veterinary import conditions by further negotiations before May 31. In this regard a joint technical committee of the two countries have been established.

Iita says both Namibia and South African ministries are cognisant of the negative impact that the veterinary requirements have on Namibia’s livestock producers and are taking all possible measures to ensure livestock trade with South Africa is restored in the shortest possible time.

Namibia’s beef industry will continue to suffer from these new requirements until May 31 after all livestock exports have grinded to a halt.

Namibia exports some 190 000 weaners and 100 000 sheep and 240 000 goats to South Africa annually.

It is estimated that some 60 000 emerging and communal farmers are suffering most from the restrictions which have cut off their livelihood while pressure is mounting on them for bank repayments as they secured loans on grounds of the lucrative export market to South Africa.

Namibia produces some 400 000 cattle annually, half of it being slaughter oxen and the other almost 200 000 weaners. If these weaners are to stay in Namibia due to the impossible export requirements, the local market will be saturated and farmers robbed of a vital source of income. However, it was agreed during last Friday’s meeting that the intent of both parties is to make the new requirements not applicable to direct slaughter animals after May 31. This will also apply to Namibian weaners that are exported live to feeding pens but are also regarded as slaughter animals eventually.

Auctions have dwindled countrywide after the implementation of the new restrictions and no auctions took place in the Omaheke and Erongo regions after the announcement.

Source : New Era