Empowering Farmers through Knowledge

Namibia’s Fish Exports Make a Splash, Surging to N$1.1 Billion: A Booming Growth Amidst Challenges

Namibia’s fish export industry has reached an unprecedented milestone in May 2023, with the export bill surging to N$1.1 billion compared to N$697 million in the same month of the previous year (May 2022). This remarkable growth of 60.2% year-on-year (y/y) marks the ninth consecutive increase in fish exports. The data, as reported in Simonis Storm’s monthly agriculture report, highlights the significant contribution of the fishing sector to the nation’s economy.

The majority of Namibia’s fish exports are destined for Europe and Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states, emphasizing the country’s role as a key player in the regional fish trade. The hake, monk, and crab sub-sectors have been performing well and are expected to meet their quota targets. However, challenges are faced by the horse mackerel and lobster sub-sectors, which may experience limited catches during the winter months, according to the report.

While the fish export industry is flourishing, there has been a concern regarding fish inflation, which stood at 11.7% in June 2023. Although it is lower than the 13.3% recorded in May 2023 (which was the highest annual rate since October 2017 at 18.2% y/y), it remains a subject of monitoring. The report identifies that the price increases were primarily driven by fresh, frozen, and chilled fish, tinned fish, as well as dried, smoked, and salted fish and seafood. These rising prices have been attributed to the impact of high fuel prices, which have affected input costs like ropes and nets used in fishing operations.

Despite the challenges, the fishing and fish processing sectors have demonstrated resilience and growth, expanding by 2.2% y/y in the first quarter of 2023. Additionally, the agriculture sector experienced small gains, with a 3.6% y/y expansion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the same period, contributing approximately 4% to the overall economic growth. The second quarter of each year has historically been the best performer, potentially due to higher slaughtering and marketing figures. This could be a result of the winter season compelling farmers to slaughter more cattle due to reduced feed availability.

In the second quarter of 2023, the number of livestock heads marketed saw an impressive growth of 14.3% y/y. The increase was primarily driven by sheep at 17.6% y/y, goats at 4.6% y/y, and cattle at 8.5% y/y. However, there was a decline of 3.4% y/y in the number of pigs marketed. Overall, the number of livestock heads marketed in the second quarter of 2023 has recovered to 74.5% of the pre-pandemic peak in the same period of 2019.

Looking at the slaughtering activity in 2023, it has outperformed previous years, exhibiting a 22.7% increase in the number of heads slaughtered in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2022. This surge has been mainly driven by cattle (20.2%) and sheep (37.2%), with goats (77.6%) and pigs (1.0%) having a lesser impact on the overall figures. Despite this remarkable growth, the number of heads slaughtered in the second quarter of 2023 is still 49.4% short of reaching the pre-pandemic peak recorded in the second quarter of 2019.

Additionally, in June 2023, live exports experienced an 11.6% y/y increase, following a 6.0% y/y growth in May 2023. This boost was primarily driven by higher sheep exports, which saw an 11.5% y/y increase, and goat exports, which experienced a staggering 44.4% y/y growth. However, cattle exports recorded a decline of 12.7% y/y, exerting some downward pressure on the overall export figures.

The flourishing fish export industry and the growth in livestock sectors indicate positive economic prospects for Namibia. The fishing industry’s performance underscores its significance as a vital contributor to the nation’s economic growth. As the country continues to navigate through challenges and capitalize on opportunities, the future of Namibia’s fish and agriculture sectors remains promising, poised for further expansion and success.

Original Article from The Brief

Stay updated with the latest farming tips and agriculture industry news from Africa by subscribing to our newsletter. Don’t miss out on valuable insights and updates. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to join our farming community and stay connected with us.