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Namibia Agricultural Union Reports Stable Growth in Pork Production, Highlights Challenges and Opportunities for the Sector.

The Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) has released a report confirming positive developments in the country’s pork sector, corroborating data provided by the Namibia Meat Board Statistics. The report reveals that pork production in Namibia has remained stable in recent months, contributing to a significant portion of local consumption.

According to the NAU report, between 45% and 50% of Namibia’s pork consumption is met by local production, with the remaining deficit being covered by imports from Europe, primarily from Germany and Spain. The union acknowledges that pork prices have experienced fluctuations in recent years due to increasing costs of stock feed, which have influenced the number of animals slaughtered.

The report indicates that 14,961 pigs were slaughtered in Namibia between January and April 2022, slightly lower than the 14,752 slaughtered during the same period in 2023, reflecting a modest decline. This data highlights the need for continued attention to the sector’s performance and the challenges it faces.

In 2020, the NAU urged Namibia to invest more in the pork sector to unlock its full potential, particularly in exporting to China, where demand for pork is strong. China’s robust demand for pork imports has had a significant impact on exporting economies and global pork markets. This trend led to a significant increase in global pork prices from mid-2019 to the beginning of 2020.

According to the union’s newsletter, the Red Meat Abattoir Association (RMAA) prices and Namibian pork ceiling prices experienced an upward trend between 2016 and 2017. However, global challenges in the industry resulted in a drastic drop in prices. Namibia’s pork ceiling price, which reached as high as N$42.42/kg in December 2017, decreased to N$29.38/kg in May 2018, representing a decline of approximately 30.74% in just five months.

The NAU report reveals that the average pork ceiling price in the months leading up to April-June 2022 was N$34.48/kg. Importantly, the demand for pork in Namibia has increased following the import ban from South Africa due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in August 2022. This ban caused a significant shortage of pork in the country, leading to importers bringing in large quantities of pork at very cheap prices from South Africa.

As a result of the increased imports, the number of locally sold pork decreased. These imported products were sold from April to June when the pork price in South Africa increased by R2/kg. The current price cap for pork in Namibia stands at N$51.03/kg, but this will only be in effect until the import ban is lifted. This situation has temporarily saved pork producers in Namibia from financial ruin.

However, it is important to note that Namibia’s production costs, as a net importer of feed, remain high. If the price drops to the normal ceiling price calculation, currently N$41.50/kg, the sector may face profitability challenges in the future. Continued attention to cost management and market dynamics will be crucial for the sustainability and growth of Namibia’s pork sector.

The NAU’s report demonstrates the importance of monitoring the pork sector’s performance and addressing challenges proactively. By focusing on sustainable practices, cost management, and exploring export opportunities, Namibia has the potential to strengthen its position in the pork market and ensure a prosperous future for its producers.

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