This study examined the efficiency and constraints in the management of the cattle supply chain from farmer to processor, as well as access to market information by communal farmers in the Omaheke region of Namibia. Questionnaires were developed and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 100 farmers who were registered as cattle producers with the Meat Board of Namibia, as well as six farmers’ associations, an auctioneer and a beef processor using purposive sampling. The research found that the farmers were not aware of the quality criteria used by buyers when determining prices for cattle classes and grades. Accessibility to market information was found not to be a constraint. The constraints facing the communal cattle farmers included low prices offered for cattle, buyers arriving late or not at all, slow payment processes and buyers running out of cash, whereas those found to be facing auctioneers and buyers operating in communal areas included the buying of poor-quality cattle and low numbers of cattle being offered for sale. Lack of essential and safe facilities at market outlets was identified as a constraint by cattle farmers, auctioneers and buyers. The study recommends strengthening the capacity of farmers’ associations in terms of human and financial resources, the training of communal cattle farmers in managerial and marketing practices, and the provision of essential facilities at market outlets.
Key words: Communal farmers, cattle, supply chain management, cattle marketing, communal areas.
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