The Ministry of Agriculture is set to strengthen its agricultural sector and promote food self-sufficiency through the introduction of the Livestock and Livestock Products Amendment Bill.
The proposed amendments to the Meat Industry Act of 1981 aim to expand its scope to include the dairy and poultry industries, which have been facing challenges due to imported goods flooding the market.
Minister of Agriculture Carl Schlettwein, while tabling the Bill in the National Assembly, highlighted the significance of poultry, dairy, and pork as essential products in households across all income levels, noting that Namibia is a net importer of food.
"These products are part of the basic diet of households across all income levels. The growth of these sectors in terms of production volume is critical for reducing import reliance and future import inflation risk. At the same time, the growth of local industry competitiveness is a pre-requisite for long-term industrial sustainability and to ensure the maximisation of consumer demand needs without obtaining cheaper products elsewhere."
The inclusion of dairy and poultry within the amended legislation is expected to provide a much-needed boost to local producers, who have been struggling due to the influx of imported goods.
"The explicit inclusion of dairy and poultry products in the Meat Industry Act would enable the Meat Board of Namibia to exercise effective management of the importation of dairy and dairy products as well as poultry meat and meat products and overcome the legal challenges experienced over the past years. This would enable Namibia to develop its dairy and poultry industries through a pro-growth regulatory framework in line with the Namibia Agriculture Policy and Growth at Home Strategy."
Schlettwein expressed confidence that by regulating the dairy and poultry sub-sectors, the Meat Board of Namibia would create a conducive environment for local producers to thrive, thereby promoting import substitution, diversification, and an improved balance of trade.