27 June 2012

Namibia: Khama Invites Dairies

BOTSWANA President Ian Khama has invited Namibia Dairies to explore investment opportunities in his country.

During a visit on Monday to the !Aimab Superfarm at Mariental, Khama said he would facilitate Namibia Dairies' visit to Botswana.

Briefing Khama and his ministerial delegation about the dairy farm's operations, Namibia Dairies managing director, Hubertus Hamm accused the South African dairy industry of "predatory pricing".

This makes it difficult for Namibia to compete because South African dairy products are priced much lower, he said.

"The South African products are 20 per cent cheaper and this is a huge challenge for us. Industry protection is the way to level the playing field," said Hamm.

He said the Namibian dairy industry suffers estimated annual losses of N$15 million.

To makes matter worse, Hamm said, South Africa's dairy industry is allowed to use feed enhancers to increase production while the Namibian dairy sector is prohibited from doing this by European Union laws.

According to Hamm, Namibia has no regulations in place to control predatory pricing since it inherited SACU laws which allow free trade.

"Are we going to choose free trade or choose to create jobs?" Hamm asked. Hamm said the Ministry of Agriculture has been briefed about the challenges facing the dairy industry, adding: "We're confident of finding a solution".

"The production of long-life milk for export is part of the Namibia Dairies strategy to counter the predatory pricing," said Hamm.

Currently, Namibia Dairies exports about three per cent of its products to Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Botswana.

There are just over 3 000 animals at the farm and it employs 120 workers. Hamm said the management aims to have 4 000 animals and 2 000 milk cows by 2015 to increase milk production to 55 000 litres a day, adding that the Superfarm supplies 20 to 30 per cent of the local dairy consumption.

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