Increased Production a Priority for Namibia’s Livestock Sector

A realistic review of the livestock sector was completed last week during the annual planning session of the LPO (Livestock Producers Organisation) in Windhoek about how a more practical reachable approach can be followed to bring about a concrete effect on ground level for the entire industry. Increased production was the number one focus, but this includes a wide spectrum of shortages which must be addressed.

For some years already the livestock sector has been under pressure to maintain production levels. The amount of slaughtering cattle which are marketed off the field has decreased, which caused that world standard slaughtering facilities in Namibia such as those of Meatco and Witvlei Meat are used under their full capacity. The amount of sheep marketed annually has also decreased in the past year. This concern was expressed by the Minister of Trade amp Industry, Calle Schlettwein during the NAU’s recent annual Agri Outlook Conference. The Minister pointed out with alarm that agriculture’s contribution toward the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has decreased from 7,4% in 1980 to 3,2% in 2013.

Various aspects contributed to this long term trend, but especially bush encroachment and predators were highlighted as contributing factor which has a big impact on farming level. Effective rangeland management, animal health and general good farming practices are other facts which will have to be attended to on farm level. Refreshing of initiatives to make a sensitized difference to critical problems such as bush encroachment, research and distribution of information to farmers as well as the development of more effective value chains where the farmer has a better control over his product in the value chain, have also been discussed as important aspect.

“Out of the box” thinking is necessary to ensure better communication on all levels between the different role players, from the farmer to Government so that real problems on the farm can be heard and addressed as a joint attempt to increase production, it was noted during the planning session.

A relief of the rate of increase in general production expenses in the third quarter of 2014 has been received positively at the LPO meeting after the latest Production Cost Index has reflected a decrease of the total expense annual inflation figure. The latest total expense annual inflation figure was shown as 9,16% for the third quarter of 2014, after it was as high as 12,56% in the first quarter of 2014.

Source : New Era