Livestock market recovering

Tujoromajo Kasuto

Despite a 12.4 percent decrease in cattle marketed in March 2022, the livestock sector recorded a positive growth, with beef and sheep exports increasing by 137 percent and 35 percent, respectively, in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period last year.

According to Simonis Storm’s Agricultural monthly report, these are early signs of the herd rebuilding period following the prolonged drought, with low commodity prices boosting additional supply (except pig prices).

As per the Meat Board, year to date (YTD), average auction prices for cattle increased from N$32.11 per kg to N$33.47 per kilogram, sheep decreased from N$35.22 per kg to N$34.17/kg, goats decreased from N$37.04 per kg to N$36.52 per kg and pigs decreased from N$36.76 per kg to N$34.28 per kg.

In March 2022, live cattle exports fell by 4.3 percent year on year, sheep fell by 43.9 percent year on year, and pigs fell by 16.8 percent year on year. Beef exports were 28 percent to South Africa, 27 percent to Europe (primarily Norway), and 18 percent to China.

During March 2022, the main export destinations for sheep and pork were South Africa and Botswana.

Simoni’s further reports that a lung disease in cattle was discovered in the Kavango West region in April 2022.

To contain the highly contagious disease, movement control measures were implemented.

‘’Approximately 60 cattle displayed clinical signs earlier this month, with approximately 30 succumbing to death. However, there have been no new major outbreaks that pose a significant growth risk in the cattle sub-sector.’’

The report further notes that global beef prices are expected to rise further in coming months, owing to higher demand from China, as well as higher input costs due to feed shortages and rising fuel prices.

These factors imply a conservative approach to overall growth forecasts in the agricultural sector for the remainder of 2022.

Furthermore, the sector posted a two percent growth rate in 2021, compared to 2020.

Crop farming increased by 4.6 percent year on year, while fishing production increased by 3.2 percent year on year, the report reads.

Livestock farming, on the other hand, Simoni’s states weighed on the sector in 2021, declining by 2.2 percent year on year.

In 2022, the Bank of Namibia forecasts 3.8 percent growth in the agricultural sector, with livestock farming growing at 4.5 percent, crop farming growing at three percent, and fishing growing at 3.8 percent.


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