This was according to Lardus van Zyl, national chairperson of the Red Meat Producers’ Organisation (RPO), speaking at the Free State RPO congress.
“It is not at all the case that local red meat producers want to implement unfair import measures on Namibia,” said Van Zyl.
He said that South Africa and Namibia’s permit requirements were very similar. “It’s not that we want a monopoly. Namibia’s weaner calf industry has a mere 3% impact on our industry,” he added.
In 2013, during a severe drought in Namibia, some 350 000 weaners were imported to SA. According to Van Zyl, the average before that was around 160 000 weaners/year.
Since the introduction of new import permit requirements in May, two truckloads of weaners entered SA illegally that the industry knew about, but this had no impact on prices paid to local producers, said Van Zyl.
However, he added, border control and the implementation of the permit system was vital to protect the health of SA’s national herd.
In a media statement, the department of agriculture (DAFF) said it had met with Namibia’s department of agriculture and the SA livestock industry earlier this week to discuss livestock imports into SA. The meeting was facilitated by Dr Gideon Bruckner, an independent expert on matters relating to the World Trade Organisation and World Organisation on Animal Health.
According to DAFF, it was decided at the meeting that import requirements would be streamlined to facilitate trade, while at the same time safeguarding SA’s animal health status.
The meeting determined that there would be a single standard operating procedure (SOP) which will cover cattle and sheep destined for direct slaughter or for confinement to a feedlot before slaughtering.