Namibia’s formal market is currently running low on fresh, raw produce especially raw pork produce due to the current foot and mouth disease outbreak in South Africa.
This confirmation was made by Desmond Cloete, head of Marketing at the Meat Board of Namibia. According to him, Namibia is currently experiencing a fresh pork meat shortage in the county for the formal market because the local production can only support about 50 percent of the domestic consumption.
“These are the likes of the restaurants, butcheries and grocery stores. It is a challenge for Namibia. We do have small scale farmers that mostly just supply the informal market. South Africa is currently fighting the foot and mouth disease and the borders have been closed for fresh produce. In the past there were establishments that were approved to export to Namibia from South Africa, however with the outbreak that started last year our directorate stopped all fresh and raw products including pork. So now we have that vacuum in the market that needs to be filled,”he said.
Last year August, South Africa reported over 100 cases of the disease and has put a hold on all movement of cattle in the country except for slaughter to contain the outbreak.
Dr John Shoopala Chief Veterinarian at the ministry of Agriculture confirmed that the ministry is aware of the outbreak.
“South Africa is experiencing a foot and mouth disease outbrek which they are failing to control right now. Under such circumstances, we then have to protect the local industry because if we don’t do that it means we would be destroying our industry if not protected hence we stoped all imports,” said Shoopala
In the same month, Namibia announced the suspension of livestock imports and other related meat products from Botswana after its eastern neighbour announced it is investigating a suspected outbreak of foot and mouth disease.
Suspected cases of the viral disease – which causes lesions and lameness in cattle, sheep and other cloven-hoofed animals but does not affect people – were detected in Botswana’s North East district.
“Imports of all FMD susceptible animals, their raw products and other potential infectious materials such as straw, forage, lucerne and their livestock feed from Botswana has been suspended until further notice,” Namibia’s agriculture ministry said.
The in-transit movement of raw livestock products and livestock feed through Botswana intended for Namibia is however allowed provided that transporting vehicles are sealed, the ministry said.
Cloete said some importers were a little brave to start importing raw pork produce from abroad.
“So some importers were a little brave to import from abroad in most case from Germany, Spain and so on. It then becomes more expensive and takes much longer to arrive. I main priority is to protect our local industry,”he stated.
Joe’s Beer House, a popular Windhoek restaurant has since put out a notice apologizing to its customers for a shortage of some meat dishes.
“We please appeal to your understanding about the many meat dishes that are currently out of stock. South Africa is experiencing a foot and mouth disease among pigs and therefore we are not able to source pork meat, in particular our famous pork knuckle (Eisbein). On the local market we also are experiencing a serious shortage in game meat, “the notice reads.