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Namibia’s Northern Producers Drive Market Surge: Eager to Supply Cattle to Abattoirs

Producers in the Northern Communal Areas (NCA) of Namibia have ignited a fervent interest in commercially marketing their cattle, signaling a notable surge in auction participation and direct sales to newly established abattoirs. This growing enthusiasm is closely linked to the emergence of two new exporting abattoirs in Katima Mulilo and Rundu since 2019, marking a pivotal moment in the region’s livestock industry.

The Livestock and Livestock Products Board NCA observes a remarkable uptick in auction numbers, affirming the willingness of NCA producers to embrace this popular marketing channel. From 21 auctions in 2019, the figure soared to 58 in 2023, with the volume of cattle offered at auctions more than doubling during the same period, from 2,161 to 5,082.

The Comprehensive Annual Marketing Report for 2023, unveiled by Meatco, further underscores this commercial zeal among northern producers. It reveals a substantial increase in cattle purchases by operational abattoirs, reflecting a positive trend in the average price paid to farmers. This figure climbed steadily from N$7,626.76 in 2019 to an impressive N$7,383.27 per cattle by the end of 2023—the highest in five years.

The revenue surge witnessed by the Livestock and Livestock Products Board NCA echoes this growing market dynamism, catapulting from N$10.6 million in 2019 to a staggering N$33.5 million in 2023. The inauguration of a new abattoir in Rundu in 2023 further fueled the performance of NCA producers, particularly in the northern central regions.

During this period, producers from the region supplied 3,553 cattle and 114 goats across 42 auctions. Notably, Kavango East and West emerged as significant contributors, supplying 988 cattle and 81 goats across 16 auctions. The report indicates a notable 9.6% increase in the number of cattle marketed at auctions in 2023 compared to the previous year, engaging 1,387 producers in the process.

The surge in auction activities since 2019 underscores the burgeoning demand for more events, driven by producers’ growing interest in marketing livestock through this channel. This demand is fueled by the pressing need for slaughter-ready cattle, largely driven by intensified meat vendor/trade activities and cultural norms within the NCA.

Oxen constituted the majority of cattle sold at auctions in 2023, reflecting the prevailing demand for slaughter-ready cattle driven by meat vendors, trade, and cultural practices within the region. Looking ahead, the NCA’s livestock and meat industry is poised for sustained growth, with beef production witnessing a steady rise and a nominal increase of 9.22% in cattle numbers marketed across all channels in 2023 compared to the previous year.

In essence, the surge in market activity among northern producers heralds a promising era for the NCA’s livestock industry, underlining their steadfast commitment to meeting market demand and driving economic growth within the region.

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