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Spotlight on new livestock export requirements
2014/3/13 14:54:07 Source: newera Author:Deon Schlechter 点击率:

WINDHOEK – The new health requirements for livestock exports to South Africa were put under the spotlight last Friday when the Namibia Livestock Producers Organisation (LPO) called an urgent meeting to discuss various burning issues like alternative international marketing possibilities and the condition of the border fences with neighbouring countries in light of the proposed strict new export requirements for exporting to South Africa.

A deadline of May 1 has been set by the South African authorities for the implementation of the new requirements, which have been described by representatives of the Namibian livestock export industry as ‘impossible’. One of the speakers at last Friday’s meeting, Fanie du Plessis of Farmers Meat Market, made it clear that Namibia should look at the possibilities and profitability of alternative African markets. According to him, a big market exists in Africa, especially in countries such as the DRC, Angola, Zambia and Tanzania. Farmers Meat Market plans further development of these markets for their products and this could open the door for other exporters to follow suit.

It was also agreed that a section of the border fence between Namibia and Botswana be electrified and representatives of Botswana believe that although the fence is in good condition, re-growth of bush is becoming a major problem that requires immediate attention. The possibility to launch an investigation over the condition of the southern boundary was also discussed during the meeting. The responsibility for the maintenance of this fence will also be investigated.

Owners of smaller abattoirs who attended the meeting expressed dissatisfaction over the difficulties they encounter to register their abattoirs for exports to the rest of the continent. The LPO will address the issues and take it up directly with government officials. Three representatives of the trade in animals, James Chapman, Titus Koen and Hottie Giersch also attended the meeting to discuss the future of on-the-hoof exports of livestock. They say the biggest obstacle posed by the new import requirements of South Africa will be the blood tests that need to be done on every animal. The export of livestock, particularly weaners, was discussed against the background of the government’s value addition policy. It was decided to prepare a presentation to inform the government about the dynamic of the commercial stock industry in Namibia.

Delegates from the Meat Board, Meatco and Agra also attended the meeting. Meanwhile, the LPO has requested the cooperation of all stakeholders to create a free market system for the cattle industry in Namibia. History has shown that the implementation of restrictions, such as Namibia’s small stock marketing scheme affect the industry negatively. The meeting urged the Meat Board to pay attention to the bone-in export of mutton cuts, which could influence the small stock industry positively. A delegation of veterinarians led by the acting director of the Directorate of Veterinary Services of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Dr John Shoopala, also held a meeting last Friday with their South African counterparts over the proposed measures for the export of cattle, sheep and goats to South Africa. Dr Herbert Schneider, who is also involved in the OIE (the World Animal Health Organisation), formed part of the Namibian delegation. The proposed measures by South Africa can have devastating consequences for the Namibian meat industry, since the South African feedlots, abattoirs and informal goat markets in Kwazulu Natal are an important market for Namibian animals. Should the proposed measures, in their current form, be implemented on May 1, it could make those markets nearly inaccessible for Namibian producers. The local meat industry is holding its breath over the outcome of the negotiations and trust that the internationally recognised animal health status of Namibia will be crucial in persuading the South Africans to rethink the restrictive measures they are contemplating for Namibia.

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