WINDHOEK – Meatco has not yet exported any meat to the USA or China but test samples have been well received by customers and it is expected that Namibian prime beef cuts will be enjoyed in both these giant beef consuming countries within the next few months.
The assurance that full shipments will soon reach the shores of America and China comes from the Chief of Corporate Affairs at Meatco, Rosa Thobias, after inquiry why no meat has been exported despite a moratorium on beef export to China having been lifted last February and the US health and customs protocols cleared at the end of last year.
In 2016, Namibia and China signed a milestone agreement that would have seen A-grade Namibian beef enter the massive Asian market, making it the only country in Africa to export beef to that country. In the same year, the US Food Safety and Inspection Service concluded “that Namibia’s meat inspection system is equivalent to the United States’ inspection system for meat and meat products”. The decision made Namibia the first country from Africa whose meat was accepted by the US authorities and allows for Namibia to export boneless (not ground) raw beef products such as primal cuts, chuck, blade, and beef trimmings from certified establishments to the US.
Despite objections raised by US-based individuals and trade organisations in both countries, and a moratorium by China on Namibian beef imports, both countries determined that Namibia has the appropriate procedures and measures in place to ensure standards are maintained.
The Namibian government projected the potential volume of meat exports to the US to be as much as 860 000 kg in the first year after the ruling’s enactment, increasing to as much as 5.7 million kilogram in five years.
In the case of China’s massive market, it could be much more if Namibia is capable of delivering beef on such a vast scale.
“These markets are continuing to receive tests sampling products. Each market must at least receive a batch of four sampling shipments before actual trading starts to take place,” Thobias explains.
Regarding the US market, she says Meatco successfully imported a sample of beef into the US at the end 2018.
“The product was well received by potential customers, but we had to wait until after the Christmas break to re-establishing contact with customers to follow up on the sampling products and look at required next steps after all of the sampling products sent to the USA and China were approved. Meatco started slaughtering last month and is doing its utmost to meet all its customers’ orders amid a growing need for especially Grade A beef cuts among South African franchises operating in Namibia. The shortage is due to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in South Africa in early January.
As far as the Chinese market is concerned, Thobias says Meatco should be able to send samples of beef into this market within the coming months.
“All other technical protocols have been cleared after the initial ban was lifted and Meatco is now slaughtering at full capacity. Huge interest has been shown by local producers to deliver for the Chinese market and it’s only a matter of time before we will start with actual deliveries. The US market has accepted all our sampling products and so did China. We are looking forward at exploring these markets to the maximum,” she assures.
New Era Reporter
2019-02-18 09:40:13 7 months ago