Namibia: Meatco hailed for beef export success … ‘nothing good comes easy’
Minister of International Relations and Corporation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah yesterday hailed the exportation of Namibian beef to the United States, describing it as a “great achievement” in the advancement of the country economic diplomacy.
Nandi-Ndaitwah made the remarks during the sending off of the first container of 25 tons of Namibian beef to the US, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s largest city yesterday, making Namibia the first African country to export beef to the world’s largest consumer market.
By exporting beef to the US, Namibia will benefit economically from tapping into the world’s largest consumer market with a purchasing power of US$13 trillion while the US consumers will benefit from access to world’s high-quality, free-range, grass-fed, and hormone and antibiotic free beef.
“I am proud of the entire agricultural industry/farming especially the livestock producers for their hard work thus making a meaningful contribution to the national developmental agenda,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah.
“Namibian farmers are talented and creative people. They go through so much to produce one of the best beef in the world amidst harsh climatic conditions. I am truly so proud and respect every Namibian farmer.”
She said in 2002 and again in 2005, Namibia initiated negotiations on the export of meat (beef) products to the US, with the intention to export boneless (not ground) raw beef products such as primal cuts, chuck, blade, and beef trimming.
Today, she said, 18-years later, Namibia is able to finally export meat to the lucrative and big US market. “I think this may be one of the longest protocols ever that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of USA and the Namibian Directorate of Veterinary Service (DVS) had taken to ensure that all technical areas are cleared and are in accordance with various established protocols,” she said.
“It is said, “nothing good comes easy”, today Namibia is proud of this achievement,” she added. On her part, US Ambassador to Namibia Lisa Johnson said one of her top priorities is to increase trade and investment between the two countries in order to create prosperity for all citizens. “Since my arrival in Namibia two years ago, I have had the honor to work closely with Meatco and all relevant ministries to help make export of Namibian beef to the US a reality,” she said.
Johnson said Meatco has submitted itself to rigorous test of its beef products and processes in order to gain access to the US market and is regularly audited.
“As a testament to Meatco’s excellence as a quality beef producer, I am proud to reconfirm that Meatco continues to meet all standards set forth by the US Department of Agriculture and US Food Safety and Inspection Service for beef production and processing,” she said.
She said Meatco would benefit from duty-free export beef into the US through the African Growth and Opportunity Act, known as AGOA.
Since 2000, AGOA has served as the cornerstone of US economic agreement with Africa.
“I would like to see (as many) Namibian companies as possible take Meatco’s lead and benefit from AGOA,” she stresses.