WINDHOEK – Namibian Ambassador to China Elia Kaiyamo yesterday welcomed the first batch of Namibian beef to China, which is the largest consumer market in the world. Kaiyamo welcomed the consignment of pure Namibian beef during a ceremony in Shijiazhaung, in the Hebei Province in China. At the end of May this year, Namibia became the first African country to export beef to China when it commenced with the first consignment of 21 tonnes of beef to the world’s most populous country.
“Here, on behalf of my government and my people, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all those who have been working hard to make this happen, including but not limited to friends from Beijing Central Key Trading, Global Protein Solutions, Hebei Sogreen Food Co Ltd and Meatco of Namibia,” said Kaiyamo during the ceremony.
Kaiyamo noted that the significance of the arrival of the first batch of Namibian beef to China is more than just adding another high-quality ingredient to Chinese plates. “It marks the success of the two countries in the realisation of ‘win-win cooperation’ and ‘happiness for all’ featured in the vision of ‘Sino-African community with a shared future’.
The Namibian Ambassador continued that; “In order to create a win-win cooperation environment and realize happiness for all, we need to combine our complimentary strengths while striving to meet our respective needs. And the success of the beef story shows how it can be achieved”.
Kaiyamo added that Namibia has slot to offer China, and not only world-class beef steaks but also many other great products, including a vast variety of seafood, quality fruits, minerals as well as breath taking natural and cultural landscapes.
China has been identified as an important market for Namibia as it imports 6.5 million tonnes of beef, 250 000 tonnes of mutton, 2.3 million tonnes of pork and 1.7 million tonnes of chicken per annum.
In 2016, Namibia and China signed a milestone agreement for A-grade beef to enter the massive Asian market. Namibia since as far as 2005 has been in the process of obtaining access to the Chinese market for its beef products. A final memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in March last year. The first agreement on animal health and quarantine was signed in China, Beijing in 2011.
In January 2016, the Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) from China visited Meatco to conduct an audit on the facilities.
In recent years, China-Namibia bilateral trade has gained greater momentum. According to Namibia Statistics Agency, China became the biggest importer (18 percent) of Namibia products in 2018. Based on China Customs statistics, the total bilateral trade volume in the entirety of 2018 exceeded US$800 million, a year-on-year increase of 45 percent, which was more than double the growth rate of overall trade with Africa.