The national meat slaughtering and marketing organisation, Meatco, believes that annual market price fluctuations foreshadow an imminent decline in livestock prices for Namibian producers.
According to Meatco spokesman, Mario Poolman, producer prices are set to further decline over the next couple of months before starting its seasonal climb again. Poolman explained that Meatco’s base-price for producers fluctuates on a seasonal basis. Fluctuations occur at about the same time every year. Producer prices are set to decline before rising, because Meatco’s base-price, exclusive of premiums, is linked to the South-African Red Meat and Abattoir Association (RMAA) price, which in turn is linked to the South African market. “The South African market, like most other markets, is subject to annual, cyclical fluctuations. This means South African producer prices, and consequently Meatco’s base-price for producers, fluctuates on a seasonal basis.
Fluctuations occur at about the same time every year,” Poolman further explained. “These fluctuations are based on supply and demand patterns. In South Africa and Namibia cattle are in prime slaughter condition during the period between March and September, which is also Meatco’s peak season. Consequently there is a higher supply of cattle during this period, leading to a drop in producer prices. This happens every year.”
Meatco also announced the roll-out of the first phase of its new initiative to speed up the turn-over of slaughter-ready animals on farms. The ‘veld-lotting’ project aims to get cattle ready for slaughter at an earlier age. According to Poolman, this means grading and price improvement, optimum weight-levels and grazing becoming available more quickly to sustain new animals on the farm. “Animals will be weighed in and the information captured on the meat-business’ Ekwatho database. They will be fed cotton-seed oil cake daily amounting to approximately 1% of body mass for a period of four months. Meatco will carry the feed and transport costs, which will be subtracted again once the animals are slaughtered at a Meatco-abattoir. In this way Meatco aims to contract 2 000 cattle this year, with the first loads of feed expected to arrive in May and June 2012. Two variants of cottonseed oil cake are available in loads of about 28 tonnes. GMO-certification is available on request,” he said.