Selecting alternative export markets for Namibia's red meat products: application of a decision support model
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The Namibian red meat industry is the backbone of the local agricultural sector, contributing almost 75% to total agricultural output. Through its export activities, the red meat industry is also an important generator of foreign exchange. However, Namibia exports its red meat to only a few trading partners, including South Africa (46%) and the European Union (EU) (29%). This is raising concerns because Namibia could lose its preferential (i.e. duty- and quota-free) market access into the EU with the expiry of the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) in 2014, while over-reliance on only a few markets increases the export sector’s vulnerability to external shocks. Namibia therefore needs to diversify its markets for red meat. The purpose of this paper is to identify new export markets as realistic alternatives to the traditional main markets of South Africa, the EU and Norway. A Decision Support Model (DSM) was applied as the market selection tool in this study. The DSM consists of four filters that systematically analyse export opportunities against factors such as macroeconomic risk, market size, market concentration, shipping costs and tariff barriers. Two hundred and thirtyone countries and 28 red meat products were put through this filtering process. The analysis revealed that the most promising alternative export markets for Namibian red meat include Hong Kong, Switzerland, Qatar, Bahrain, Singapore, Malaysia and China. The DSM results constitute an important foundation for more in-depth research into demand patterns, as well as other possible deterrents, in the identified markets.