Agriculture (143)

The Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) has launched the Urban Agriculture Grant e-voucher card issuance and terminal roll-out in Windhoek.

Often Agribank is inundated with enquiries from public members on whether one can apply for an Agribank loan and/or is eligible for various loan products of the Bank.

Farming is the practice of growing crops and raising livestock for consumption and income generation.

Namibia sold a total of 225 734 cattle in 2021, a 10% decline from the 250 441 in 2020, a position attributed to supply constraints in the industry, latest statistics from Agribank show.

The Namibian livestock sector has generated so much interest over the past couple of years. The Brief explored the sector, and below are some unknown but interesting facts about the industry.

Namibia’s cattle head

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, the world has 1.468 billion head of cattle as of 2020. Brazil and the United States have the largest cattle inventory in the world, followed by India and China. Brazil has 211 million cattle (14% of all cattle globally).

Contrary to some beliefs, Namibia’s head is only a mere 2.37 million or 0.16% of the global cattle head. Of the country’s 2.37 million national head around 1.2 million cattle are north of the redline.

Red Meat industry

The production of meat worldwide is estimated to amount to 335 million tonnes, compared with Namibia’s meat production of 49,444 tonnes (according to the Meat Board of Namibia) and Meatco’s 8,959.4 tonnes of meat processed in 2020/21.

Key export markets

Namibia exports its beef to key markets such as Norway under the Norwegian Quota, United Kingdom and the European Union, where a total of 1,770 tonnes of beef were exported by Meatco.

Namibia, in particular Meatco, has received approval to export beef to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

Meatco will be exporting boneless raw beef products like primal cuts and beef trimmings, as well as chuck and blades, a potential market of approximately 5,700 tonnes per year when fully operational.

China has also expressed willingness to import beef from Meatco. In Africa, Meatco's exports to South African totaled 1,846 tonnes, mainly exporting of by-products and off falls to this market.

Contribution of sector to GDP

According to the Namibia Statistic’s Agency (NSA) data, Livestock farming contributed nearly N$6.3 billion to the nominal GDP, an increase of nearly N$1.1 billion year on year.

Livestock’s contribution to the nominal GDP rose from 2.9% to 3.5% in 2020, while crop farming and forestry was up from 1.6% to 2.9%.

Livestock farming contributes to approximately two-thirds of agricultural production, with crop farming and forestry making up the remaining one-third (excluding fishing). Meat processing (which the government accounts for under manufacturing) contributes to another 0.2-0.4% of GDP. 

Meatco’s role in the beef value chain

Meatco is a Commercial Public Enterprise (Government owned) mandated to serve, promote and co-ordinate the interests of livestock producers in Namibia, with the aim to optimally utilise and maintain abattoirs and other meat factories in the public interest; and to market products within Namibia and elsewhere to the best advantage of the producers of livestock.

What has been done to ensure sustainability of the sector and allow all livestock producers access to market 

 In 2019, Meatco established a subsidiary, Meatco NCA Pty Ltd, to conduct its business operations in the Northern Communal Area (NCA), a move which the company said is geared to mainstream the NCA livestock sector into the Namibian economy.

The meat products from the NCA abattoirs are subjected to implementation of Commodity Based Trade protocols that enable the meat products from the abattoirs to be sold South of the Veterinary Cordon Fence (Namibia) and exported to secured lucrative markets.

Meatco was part of the Government Delegation last year that explored markets in West Africa specifically in Ghana and Congo Brazzaville., and has revealed that it is also engaging potential customers in South Africa and Angola to secure access for the producers in the NCA.

According to Meatco, it has paid N$2-billion to farmers to sustain primary production over the harshest 3-years (2019 through to 2021).

Developments in the sector

The Livestock Producers' Organisation (LPO) has revealed an initiative by its members to fund the setting up of a new export abattoir in Namibia. Meatco, operator of the country’s biggest export abattoir has welcomed the development, which the company says would promote the industry’s growth.

Threats to the sector

Although the sector is registering growth across the world, there are many procurement and supply chain issues facing the beef industry locally and globally.

-Biggest threat at this point is climate change,

- division in the local Livestock sector industry

-policies that hamstring Meatco to carry out its mandate as per the Meat Act of 2006.

-Transboundary animal diseases

-Global political and economic uncertainties mainly due to COVID-19.


Chemical remedies such as Herbicides, Fungicides and Pesticides are increasingly being used in most crop production operations as they play a vital role in ensuring a successful crop production season. Herbicides are chemical remedies that are traditionally sprayed on weeds to reduce their competition effect with desired crops.

Agribank, through its Agri Advisory Services, engaged stakeholders in Otjiwarongo to ensure collaboration in the planning and facilitation of regional farmers’ events as well as sharing of expertise and resources for capacity building purposes.

MTC and the Environment Investment Fund (EIF), through the National Plant Genetic Resource Centre (NPGRC/Genebank), have sponsored a sum of N$400 000 (N$200 000 each) for the establishment of a rural community Seedbank in Kavango West region, Ncuncuni constituency.

The Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) as part of its agri-advisory services role to farmers, held training workshops for women and youth in the //Karas region.

The Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) says it has successfully controlled and contained the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak in the Zambezi region, and lifted all animal movement restrictions.