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Meat crisis on the rise in Southern Africa

January 7, 2016 1:30 pm

2011_Horn_of_Africa_famine_Oxfam_01The imminent red meat shortage in Southern Africa is becoming a bigger reality by the day as one of the most serious ongoing droughts in recent history is showing no signs of subsiding.

The El Nino which has hit most parts in Sub Saharan Africa has caused droughts partly in Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

“Very limited planting has been possible in the summer rainfall areas and grain prices have already started to rise. Months of growth of natural grazing has already been lost and crop residues will be limited during the coming winter. This means that the provision of grazing will already be under serious pressure in the coming winter, which will also have a dampening effect on herd building,” Red meat Producers Organisation (RPO SA) CEO, Lardus van Zyl, said.

Serious losses of livestock are currently being experienced in these countries. Provision of water for livestock is now in a crisis situation because dams, marshes, springs, fountains, rivers and boreholes are drying up. The domesticated animals are now costly to keep which means prices of meat will rise.

In South Africa farmers have already scaled down to nucleus herds and high costs are being incurred for feed and water supply. If normal rainfall figures are to come back it would take commercial producers between three and four seasons to recover economically.

However, if the drought persists, Van Zyl said that younger female animals (substitute heifers) will, in the short-term, end up in feedlots and most likely be slaughtered, which could have an influence on calf percentage and thus supply, as well as on the price of weaner calves in the long term.

“Further emergency slaughters will take place in the short-term but supply will not rise drastically because herds are already diminished. Producer prices will in the short term be somewhat lower and in the long term supply will be seriously under pressure with prices rising above the inflation rate.

“The consumer price of red meat will increase because of more expensive grain and feed prices and the impact of the lower supply of slaughter stock from farms. Grain and feed prices as well as input costs will drastically increase,” Van Zyl said.

Abattoirs in Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa have reduced the buying price of red meat from suppliers and they have increased their selling price to consumers. Export prices might also hike or the number of exports will be limited.

Red meat could become a rare commodity within six months if adequate rain did not fall soon. Rains should surely come at least for the sake of the animals. As an entrepreneur hub, Makamba Online would be delighted to see entrepreneurs relishing business opportunities in this drought period. Importing red meat from other countries, drilling boreholes, selling fodder, and animal health among other things.

Author: Staff Writer

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