Small stock sales decline by 50% in January

Tujoromajo Kasuto

Small stock sales of goats and sheep in January 2022, declined significantly month-on-month. The sales dipped from 43 465 recorded in December 2021 to 21 572 in January, which is more than a 50 percent drop.

The drop is noticeable in both industries with sheep marketing having experienced the greatest drop of 51 percent to 15,102 in January 2022 from 31,093 the previous month.

The decline can be associated with the January breeding and restocking season. The low sales have impacted abattoir performance adversely.

This is contained in the Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) monthly market watch for February 2022.

The bank states that there are signs of recovery observable in 2022 following herd rebuilding and better rainfall in most parts of the country.

A total of 3,585 pigs were marketed in January 2022, also a decline of 16 percent from 4,253 animals recorded in December 2021.

The bank observed that the pig industry has been stagnant throughout 2021, mainly due to barriers of market entry and high feed costs.

However, pig marketing is expected to show stability in 2022, following an intervention scheme by the Meat Board to protect Namibian producers from an upsurge of cheap imports from foreign producers into the local market.

Meanwhile in the Cattle Industry, a total of 225,734 cattle were marketed in 2021, a 10 percent decline from the 250,441 recorded in 2020, on the back of supply constraints in the industry.

The number of cattle marketed remained stagnant, recording 14,390 in January 2022 compared to 14,419 in December 2021.

There is a notable improvement in the number of slaughtered cattle, increasing by 24 percent to 6,090 in January 2022 from 4,897 in December 2021 backed by imports of livestock from Botswana.

The livestock industry is expected to gradually improve in 2022 owing to better rangeland conditions coupled with continuation of the concession of live cattle exports from Botswana to boost local slaughtering.

The Agribank further observed that in terms of crops and horticulture, there is a positive sentiment for the crop industry in 2022 due to good seasonal rainfall covering most of the crop growing regions.

As rainfall is expected to increase crop yields and improve local food security, in addition to the grape industry which is expected to maintain positive yields in 2022.

Furthermore, an upward trajectory in the local production of horticulture crops is anticipated, given strategic efforts towards development of the local horticulture and agronomy industry.

According to the Namibian Agronomic Board, the country experienced insufficient supply of onions and potatoes in January 2022, thus, borders were opened for the import of these products without restrictions.

On the positive side, however, sufficient local supply of watermelons, beetroot and English cucumbers are expected over the period January to March 2022.

Local farmers, financial institutions and stakeholders in the agriculture sector should note that there is an opportunity to place the agriculture sector on a growth trajectory and protect the country from risks of food insecurity driven by external shocks, the bank says.

The annual inflation rate stood at 4.6 percent at the end of January 2022, compared to 2.7 percent during the same period in 2021.

This is the highest rate recorded since February 2019. The spike in inflation can be ascribed to increasing fuel prices backed by supply chain disruptions and geopolitical tensions in Europe coupled with a rise in food and non- alcoholic beverages prices.

This is pointing to an increase in the cost of living and high costs of production across industries, including the Agriculture sector.

The overall inflation is projected at an average of 4.4 percent in 2022 and 4.5 percent in 2023, an upward revision from 4 percent initially forecasted.

Although the overall inflation remains within the target inflation range (3% – 6%), there is heightened risk of run-away inflation, particularly in transport and food categories, the bank observed.

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