A Concerned Namibian Producer writes:
It is with grave concern when I read articles like these (“Beesprodusente verdien N$3,4 miljard in 2017”, Republikein van 27 Februarie 2018) as clearly this is an attempt to disguise the failure by the LPO to support value addition at home and to ensure long term job security for Namibians.
Let me explain why I say this:
My most recent figures suggest that 313 000 live animals were exported to South Africa, roughly 103 000 were formally slaughtered in Namibia and adding informal slaughter suggests 480 000 animals marketed for 2017. Given restricted movement from north to south these animals must have originated south of the veterinarian control fence which by implication means they could have been exported.
Here comes the predicament that if using Meatco's average revenue of roughly N$ 60 per kg for 2017 as a benchmark and a slaughter weight of roughly 220 kg per animal, the possible value of this market would have been a staggering N$ 6,3 billion (or Afrikaans “N$6,3 miljard) roughly double of what was actually achieved.
While I acknowledge that not all animals can be raised to a slaughter animal in Namibia and that there are inefficiencies in the Namibian systems, the fact that we only achieved roughly 50% of our potential target need to be considered a failure of epic proportions.
Instead of letting the LPO pat themselves on the back, the article should actually state that the LPO through assistance and cooperation of livestock auctioneers, speculators and exporters:
• Have cost each Namibian N$ 2,640 annual additional income per head of cattle.
• Have resulted in missed direct job opportunities for more than 3 600 people (based on 1 200 people per 100 000 animal slaughtered) in Namibia.
• Have resulted in missed indirect job opportunities for more than 10 800 people (based on multiplication of 3 – reality actually suggest 5)
• VAT / Tax income losses to the state of N$435 Million based on 15% income.
Special mention need to go to the South African Red Meat and Feedlot Association who clearly are a willing supporter of this game but I guess I cannot blame them as their loyalty is to their own pockets and increasing the South African GDP and employment figures.
Since this was only a sum for the beef industry and I understand the same to be happening in the sheep industry, it means that this figure is just the tip of the iceberg. It is this behaviour that makes us as a Namibian nation poorer and instead of putting us first, it actually puts us last.
The consequences are overall negative growth rates with less money for uplifting our nation and a good argument for Government intervention such as a managed border with quotas.
In addition a large amount of public and private/producer funds were invested in developing international market access for processed Namibian beef. From where I sit it appears as if the strategy now is to have all this extensive efforts by the Government, producers and the local meat processors undermined.
It does appear that the LPO is actively promoting Namibian livestock to become part of big brother SA's “mass-market-growth-hormone-infused” marketing channels whilst at the same time making use of Namibia's world renowned traceability system to gain access to particular high yielding markets to the benefit of the foreign based feedlots. Hope we'll all start to see the forest for the trees and start to blow the smoke from the mirrors!
What boggles my mind even further, is the conclusion that we now need a “new marketing agency” as clearly sending “live” animals faster somewhere else cannot be in line with our national aspirations of Vision 2030, the Harambee prosperity plan, growth at home and local value addition.
I need to acknowledge that there are farmers who have great loyalty to Namibia and I do understand economic pressures and individual inabilities to change a whole system. What I do appeal for is that all of us stop reaping from and praise singing an imperfect system but rather support a joint drive to create more value for Namibia as a whole. The long term benefits for all must be what we are all striving towards.