Processed meat imports drop 53 percent

THE meat processing sector recorded a 53 percent cumulative decline to 370 tonnes in imports of mechanically deboned meat in the first four months of the year. According to an industry update by the Livestock and Meat Advisory Council (LMAC), the sector’s average monthly import from January to April was 93 tonnes compared to 195 tonnes in the relative period last year. “The meat processing sector, cumulative imports of mechanically deboned meat for the four months to April 2020 was 370 tonnes, a decline of 53 percent on imports compared with the corresponding period in 2019 while the average procurement cost increased by 72 percent from $433 per tonne to $743/ tonne,” it said.

“Average monthly imports from January to April 2020 was 93 tonnes compared to 195 tonnes over the same period in 2019.”

The advisory council said the cattle sector was characterised by low offtake and fertility, high mortality and morbidity, poor quality and low carcass weight and an inability to effectively compete on export markets.

Despite the above adverse factors, animal health, nutrition, improved genetics and accessing cattle markets, have been identified as the major opportinities.

Meanwhile, the Government is making efforts to grow the livestock sub-sector, which contributes up to 18 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. The sub-sector has been burdened by macro-economic challenges and diseases such as tuta absoluta and theileriosis (January disease) in cattle.

In June 2018, President Mnangagwa launched the Command Livestock programme to cater mainly for Matabeleland, where he handed over 1 660 heifers to 151 beneficiaries from Matabeleland South’s seven districts with $10 million being channelled towards the scheme to empower communities in Matabeleland North and South by boosting their herds. —

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