Livestock Industry Recovery Unlikely This Year

THE livestock industry, which is still reeling from the effects of a severe drought last year, will not recover this year.

Brian van Rensburg, director of PSG Namibia said this week despite the marginal increase in June, the Livestock Marketing Index (LMI) has failed to recover to pre-drought levels, a fact it said is worrying and reflects the pressure the agricultural industry is under.

Van Rensburg said in a report that the industry has recently faced additional headwinds in the form of veterinary restrictions imposed by South Africa. As a result, the export of live cattle and small stock declined dramatically in May, the month when the new restrictions were imposed.

“Although Namibia could potentially access markets in Angola and Zambia, the level of demand for Namibian livestock exports from these markets remains uncertain and it will take some time to adjust export supply chains and negotiate new contracts. Meanwhile, the situation in relation to the restrictions imposed by South Africa also remains uncertain,” he said.

In July, 441 cattle, 13 171 goats and 731 sheep were exported to South Africa. To put these figures into perspective, the Meat Board of Namibia estimates that 30 238 cattle, 18 843 goats and 16 089 sheep were exported to South Africa in July last year.

According the Namibia Statistics Agency’s national accounts, the agricultural sector contracted by 26,9% in real terms during 2013.

“The most recent livestock marketing index statistics certainly suggest a recovery this year is becoming increasingly unlikely,” said van Rensburg.

The LMI is a composite index comprising sub-indices for the export of live cattle and small stock (sheep and goats) and the export of cattle, small stock and pigs via abattoirs.

The LMI increased to 83,1 points in June from a reading of 82,1 points a month earlier. However, the LMI averaged roughly 79 points during the first half this year, significantly lower than the average of 126 points recorded over the same period a year earlier.

The agency said the decline was predominantly to abnormally high sales in 2013 due to a drought in Namibia, and abnormally low sales in 2014 on account of herd rebuilding following the 2013 sell-off.

Source : The Namibian