Beef Exports Decrease During 2014

Beef exports to the European Union (EU) and Norwegian markets during the first quarter of 2014 decreased by 48%, according to recent statistics released by the Meat Board of Namibia.

The Meat Board noted that during the first quarter of the year, a total of 1 621 tonnes of chilled and frozen deboned cuts were exported to the EU and Norwegian markets, compared to 2 164 tonnes exported during the same period in 2013.

Namibia’s only EU approved export abattoirs, Meatco (Windhoek and Okahandja plants) and Witvlei Meat reported a total slaughter figure of 16 682 livestock units by the end of the first quarter of 2014.

This figure indicated a decrease of 35,86% from 26 008 livestock units as reported in the same period last year.

Of the total number of cattle slaughtered, 91% were slaughtered at the Meatco plant in Windhoek.

The average grades slaughtered were 31,87% for the A-grade and 23,13% for the AB-grade, while the B and C grades accounted for 22,70% and 20,38%, respectively.

The export of cattle to South Africa also decreased by 58% in the first quarter of 2014, compared to the same period last year.

A total of 23 741 livestock units were marketed during the first quarter of 2014, compared to 57 030 livestock units during the same period in 2013.

On the total marketing of cattle by the end of the first quarter of 2014, the Meat Board said figures stood at a level of 46 476 livestock units.

The overall performance of cattle marketing decreased by 51,38% compared to cattle marketed by the end of the first quarter of 2013, which stood at 95 588 livestock units.

“The marketing of livestock in the first quarter of 2014 was dramatically lower than that of 2013. The main variable which influenced this figure was the good rain experienced from December last year, which caused producers to hold back and gave them a chance to rebuild their stock. This is normal following a drought year in Namibia,” the Meat Board added.

In a related issue, meat producer, Meatco said there is great uncertainty over whether it will be able continue paying high average prices to livestock producers in the coming months.

Chief financial officer Nico Weck, said despite the fact that the company’s abattoirs south of the veterinary cordon fence are relatively fully booked for the next three months, the exchange rate remains a great concern to the company as it will have an effect on the producers.

“The great uncertainty at this stage is what will happen with the exchange rate. If the exchange rate continues to weaken, we will have to adjust the producer price accordingly. The ger the rand, the less we will get out of our high-value markets,” Weck said.

Meatco paid the highest ever average producer price during the month of April, N$31 per kilogramme across all grades.

Weck said the meat marketing company’s market price for beef products is under pressure in most of its markets, and it is slowly but steadily declining as a result of the ger rand with the expectation that it will remain g in the medium term.

In contrast, Meatco’s producer price remains stable. Weck warned that if the rand continues to strengthen, there may be a possible decline in the producer price to protect the business margins.

Meatco is also currently in the peak season, as regards to the availability of its beef products. Market prices will increase if scarcity of beef should occur, according to Weck.

With Europeans enjoying summer now, Meatco anticipates a product price increase especially with regards to the high value cuts.

Weck said the company’s ultimate goal is to keep producer prices as stable as possible.


Source : The Namibian