Limit on animal feed imports from SA hampers Namibian livestock farmers

The strict regulations introduced by the Namibian government on the importation of animal feed from South Africa pose a serious challenge for livestock producers in the southern region of the country, according to Rina Hough, commodity analyst of the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU).

Limit on animal feed imports from SA hampers Namibian livestock farmers
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Producers find it difficult to import animal feed from South African markets because of the official regulations aimed at combatting the spread of foot-and-mouth (FMD) disease to Namibia.

Hough said animal feed prices as well as transport costs in Namibia were exceedingly high, which made the importation of South African feed and fodder a good option for producers in the south.

“The northern parts of Namibia also received below-normal rains so far this summer, and that adds additional pressure on the local supply of animal feed. Farmers in the south reported that grazing in the region had not fully recuperated following the 2021/22 drought that occurred in the area. For them it is a much better option to import feed from areas such as Upington and the Western Cape at a reasonable price than to make use of locally produced fodder,” she told Farmer’s Weekly.

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Hough said the NAU office received many inquiries about the importation of animal feed from South Africa. However, it must be kept in mind that South Africa’s FMD-free status had not been reinstated by the World Organisation for Animal Health since the outbreak of the disease a few years ago.

According to Hough, importing animal feed into Namibia was indeed possible, but strict requirements had been issued by the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) of Namibia.

Only animal feed coming from places in South Africa where no FMD occurred and where strict biosecurity measures were applied, were allowed into Namibia. The area where the forage was grown and harvested needed to be free from any cloven-hoofed animal activity.

The feed needed to be treated either through steaming or fumigation as prescribed by the DVS.  It was also vital that transport vehicles were cleaned and disinfected according to official requirements.

Dr Vistorina Benhard, Namibia’s state veterinarian involved in import/export control, said in a statement the starting point for any producer wishing to import animal feed from South Africa would be to contact their local DVS office before any steps were taken.

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Annelie Coleman represents Farmer’s Weekly in the Free State, North West and Northern Cape. Agriculture is in her blood. She grew up on a maize farm in the Wesselsbron district where her brother is still continuing with the family business. Annelie is passionate about the area she works in and calls it ‘God’s own country’. She’s particularly interested in beef cattle farming, especially with the indigenous African breeds. She’s an avid reader and owns a comprehensive collection of Africana covering hunting in colonial Africa, missionary history of same period, as well as Rhodesian literature.