New Era (Windhoek)

30 July 2012

Namibia: Imports Threaten Local Industry

Windhoek — Namibia's agricultural sector seems to be plagued by cheap imports from countries such as South Africa.

Just a week ago, the Namibian poultry industry expressed concern over cheap pork imports, which are threatening the industry and now the Dairy Producers Association of Namibia also joined the chorus of concern.

During its annual members' meeting that took place last week, the deterioration of the dairy industry was the main point of discussion. According to the Namibia Agricultural Union's weekly newsletter, a second dairy producer is currently busy to get rid of his herd.

Industry players say the effect of cheap UHT milk (under cost price) on the local market has a very negative influence on the sale of Namibian UHT products.

"UHT products nearly make up half of the local milk production. A fact which the authorities do not understand is that due to transport and feed prices, local producers will never be able to compete with subsidized products from South African and other countries," the NAU says. According to the NAU, the Namibia Dairies group took a big risk to start the !Aimab Superfarm.

"The dairy producers salute Namibia Dairies who took a clear decision not to be yet another distributor of foreign products in Namibia, but rather to invest in a real Namibian product of high quality," the producers said.

The NAU noted that the additional employment opportunities, which were created by the superfarm, are a typical example of what the agricultural sector contributes towards the economy. The NAU said the situation for the dairy producers is getting worse and dairy producers have now decided to launch another action in an attempt to show the authorities that the dairy industry, which up to now has been identified as a strategic agricultural industry, is busy to come to an end.

Due to limited funds, each producer contributes from his milk price towards another consultancy in order to get the information to the relevant officials. NAU president, Ryno van der Merwe, said the local economy cannot afford to carry on without the contribution of dairy producers in terms of employment creation and investment and towards a proud Namibia product.

Commercial producers are excited about the possibility of the development of dairy expanding possibilities in the communal areas, but are concerned whether such an industry will be maintainable in the long-term without substantial investment.

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