Empowering Farmers through Knowledge

Namibia’s Potential Boom: Advancing Towards Small Livestock Export Deal with China

Namibia is on the verge of finalizing a significant agreement that will enable the country to export small livestock, such as goat and sheep meat, to China. This potential deal comes as a welcome addition to Namibia’s existing high-class market for beef, which was established in 2019. If successfully executed, the new export agreement will not only enhance Namibia’s growth income but also create opportunities for increased domestic productive capacity among producers.

Agriculture Minister Calle Schlettwein revealed this promising development during the re-opening ceremony of O&L’s Farmers Meat market at Mariental. He highlighted that Namibia stands out as the only country on the African continent with access to the world’s most lucrative markets. This status has been achieved due to the country’s top-notch veterinary capabilities and abattoirs, which have earned recognition for their equivalent quality to countries with established market access.

Minister Schlettwein emphasized the importance of maintaining Namibia’s veterinary status to maximize the economic benefits of its agricultural potential. He also stressed the need for robust phytosanitary capabilities to safeguard the country’s export potential for various agricultural commodities.

Furthermore, the Minister underscored the significance of ensuring a steady supply of agricultural products both to the domestic market and to potential export markets, including Africa through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. To facilitate this, Parliament has approved the amended Meat Industry Act, establishing a consolidated regulatory framework to better support the meat industry.

Minister Schlettwein acknowledged the pivotal role played by partnerships with the private sector in revitalizing the economy. He commended O&L, Hartlief, and Farmers Meat for rising to the challenge by investing in new industries and projects, contributing to the reduction of import dependency and creating employment opportunities with positive ripple effects in the economy.

The reopening of Farmers Meat, which commenced commercial operations in October 2022 after a two-year closure due to a devastating drought, has already yielded remarkable results. As the country’s largest sheep abattoir operation and the only approved exporter of sheep meat, the facility has paid over N$75 million to sheep producers between October 2022 and June 2023. This demonstrates O&L’s commitment to supporting local farmers and fostering economic development within communities.

In addition to Norway and Seychelles, where deboned lamb is already exported, Namibian lamb’s exceptional quality is soon to be enjoyed in Germany (EU) and the Bermuda Island (Caribbean Islands). However, to sustain this momentum, the Government’s efforts to expedite plans for exporting to China, the Middle East, and the United States are crucial. Gaining export status will unlock doors to lucrative international markets, including the SADC region and the wider African market, presenting tremendous growth opportunities for Namibia’s meat industry and the country as a whole.

O&L’s CEO, Wessie Van Der Westhuizen, revealed their ambitious plans for the future. For 2023, they aim to process 55,000 sheep, and this number is projected to increase significantly to 100,000 to 170,000 sheep in 2024. By 2025, their vision is to reach full production capacity, processing a remarkable 280,000 sheep. To achieve this, additional investments will be made, and the abattoir will undergo significant maintenance, upgrades, and improvements during a temporary shutdown from 7th August to 4th September 2023.

The dedication of O&L and its partners to the growth and prosperity of Namibia’s meat industry promises a bright future for the country’s agricultural sector, bolstering its position in the global market and fostering economic development across the nation.

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