Due to drought conditions, livestock exports increased by 10.91 per cent with export abattoirs driving the performance at a 55.35 per cent growth rate on account of drought-induced marketing during the first six months of the year.
Butchers, on the other hand, experienced a decline of 27.75 per cent losing market share to export abattoirs whose producer prices remained competitive during the second quarter, figures from the Meat Board of Namibia revealed last week. It was noted that Meatco registered a 104.98 per cent monthly capacity utilisation during the second quarter of 2019, indicating over-capacity utilisation.
Foot-and-mouth disease conditions in major trading partner South Africa forced SA feedlots to reduce their purchase of Namibian weaners as they did not have a market for their beef. This resulted in a significant reduction of weaner exports in the first quarter but the second quarter recorded a recovery in live exports. Beef export abattoirs performed very well reaching unusual levels of capacity utilisation. Despite increased supply, abattoir prices remained at competitive levels.
During the first half of 2019, sheep marketing stabilised close to 2018 levels registering only a nominal increase. Major shifts in market share were experienced with producers moving their sheep more towards live exports to the detriment of local slaughter facilities. Sheep price differences remain high in the A2 and C2 class and Namibian prices are expected to remain under pressure due to the drought phenomenon. Cattle marketing increased from 221,530 in quarter two of 2018 to 245,706 in quarter two of 2019.
From total cattle marketed, 65 per cent were live exports, 28 per cent were taken up by export abattoirs while B&C class abattoirs only enjoyed seven per cent of the market share.
A total of 9,140 cattle were declared to the Meat Board by the registered B&C class abattoirs during the second quarter of 2019, bringing the total slaughter year-to-date to 18,440 cattle. This compares adversely by 27.75 per cent to 25,521 observed during the period January to June in 2018.
An amount of 452,337 sheep were marketed through various formal channels in the first half of 2019, translating to a 0.62 per cent increase in comparison to the same period in 2018 when 449,545 sheep were marketed.
During the first half of 2019, a total of 296,137 head of sheep were exported live, accounting for 65 per cent of the market share. Sheep slaughtered at the export abattoirs accounted for 27 per cent at 120,266 head whilst those that were slaughtered at the B&C class abattoirs accounted for eight per cent at 35,934 sheep.
The Namibian all-grade average sheep price averaged N$39.27/kg. The Namibian A2 sheep price dropped by 11.29 per cent from N$62.28/kg in the first half of 2018 to N$55.96/kg in the first half of 2019.
The price difference of the Namibian A2 sheep prices compared to the Northern Cape prices generally declined by 15.38 per cent from -N$5.72/kg in the first half of 2018 to -N$4.84/kg observed in the first half of 2019, mainly driven by a relatively declining Northern Cape average during the second quarter.
The Namibian C2 sheep price on average declined by 8.42 per cent during the first half of 2019 trading at N$41.22/kg compared N$44.69/kg during the same period last year. With the Northern Cape C2 sheep price averaging at N$44.84/kg during the first half of 2019, the gap between the Namibia C2 sheep price and the Northern Cape C2 sheep price was -N$3.62/kg, up by 11.38% from a gap of -N$3.25 observed in the first half of 2018.
A total of 23,818 pigs were marketed through various formal channels in the first half of 2019, translating to a 19.92 per cent increase in comparison to the same period in 2018 when 19,862 pigs were marketed.
The average Namibian pork ceiling price for the first half of 2019 stood at N$32.38/ kg, down by 3.92 per cent from N$33.70 observed during the same period in 2018. During the period under review, a total of 3,481 tonnes of pork were consumed by the Namibian market of which 2,025 tonnes were sourced locally as compared to the 1,456 tons imported from other countries. This represents a 58 per cent market share for the local pork products as compared to the 42% imported.