Minister of international relations Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah has hailed Namibian cattle breeders as the ‘best in the world’ describing them as talented and creative who go through so much to produce one of the best beef in the world amidst harsh climatic conditions.
Nandi-Ndaitwah made this remarks while sending off the first consignment of 25 tonnes of beef to Philadelphia, U.S, making Namibia the first African country to export red meat to that country, following two decades of haggling over safety regulations and logistics.
Under the deal, Namibia, known for its free-range, hormone-free beef, is set to export 860 tonnes of various beef cuts in 2020 to the U.S, rising to 5,000 tonnes by 2025.
The U.S tops the world list for red meat consumption per head. Americans consume on average 120 kg of meat per person, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), making meat exports to the country a prime target.
“I must say, Namibian farmers are talented and creative people. I am truly so proud and respect every Namibian farmer. These are truly brave people in the land of the brave,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah who doubles as the country’s deputy prime minster.
Meanwhile, by March last year, Meatco’s factory slaughtered 620 animals on average per day whilst the capacity is 480.
The results was that Meatco Windhoek slaughtered and processed 115 000 cattle, an all-time record in a single year from the Windhoek factory.
Total direct payments to producers amounted to in excess of N$1.1 billion, contributing positively to the country’s agricultural sector and economy in general.
Agriculture contributes about 5% to Namibia’s economy but farming including cattle raising contributes to nearly two thirds of the population’s income.
A large proportion of the Namibian depends directly and indirectly on the livestock sector. The livestock industry is approximately worth N$3.9 billion annually (according to the Meat Board 2019 statistics) with Meatco share at around 60%.
In 2019, Namibia exported about 12,400 metric tonnes of meat to Norway, Britain, the European Union and Chinese markets.