Four-year cattle marketing records highest performance in ten-year period
Despite recurring drought conditions in Namibia, cattle marketing over the last four years recorded the highest number of cattle marketed to local abattoirs in the last ten years, averaging 346,256 animals per year.
Addressing a large group of farmers during the 63rd livestock parade at the Windhoek Industrial and Agricultural Show, Agribank’s Chief Executive, Sakaria Nghikembua said that the average price for cattle per kilogram has nearly doubled in the last decade, reaching an all-time high of N$28.86/kg in 2016 compared to an average of N$16.52 per kg recorded in 2007.
“Market prices for livestock have been favourable on a progressive basis. The domestic market price for sheep increased from N$18.82/kg in 2007 to N$39.94/kg in 2016. This is despite the drought conditions experienced in 2013, 2015 and 2016,” said Nghikembua.
In order to help the local agricultural sector’s performance, the land bank said it has introduced various products like the no-collateral loan product. This product was launched at the end of April this year and has seen over N$10 million in disbursements to salaried communal farmers already, with the bulk of the financing going to livestock purchases.
Furthermore, Nghikembua said farmers need to find ways to diversify agricultural production for the further development of an effective sector.
“We can diversify more by adding value to livestock products and by focusing on non-livestock activities such as crop farming and horticulture,” he said.
He emphasised the current outlook for the upcoming season saying that the positive rainfall outlook for the 2017/18 rain season gives comfort to the farming communities.
“This will allow for further livestock recoveries, following the last good rainy season. The positive rainfall outlook is consistent with the expected recovery of the Namibian economy, to be partly driven by positive growth in the agricultural sector,” he stated.
Furthermore, processing of livestock products is limited which means there is leakage of economic value in the livestock value-chain, he stressed.
Agribank introduced the agro-processing loan scheme whose objective is to finance value-addition to agricultural products, including livestock product processing and thus it welcomes business plans from those who are ready to add value to their products at any time.
“As part of our climate resilient strategy, the Bank is also supporting income-diversification activities for farmers. To this end, we do finance bush-thinning activities not only to increase grazing capacity on farms but also to generate additional income for farmers; and allow them to potentially make livestock feed from wood,” Nghikembua said.
Also, through its newly-established Agri Advisory Services, Agribank provides training and mentorship to farmers across the country.