Namibia: Ambassador keen to expand country's Meatco market
Namibian ambassador to the USA Margaret Mensah-Williams recently conducted a familiarisation visit at Meatco, expressing her satisfaction at the manner the institution is operating and fulfilling its mandate.
Mensah-Williams, who was welcomed by Meatco CEO Mwilima Mushokabanji, was particularly impressed by the vast experience and knowledge Meatco has in producing high-quality beef products that are highly competitive in the advanced economy such as that of the United States of America.
“The niche we can find to grow the Namibian economy and place Namibia on the world trade market is attainable through Meatco,” said Mensah–Williams, who was deployed to the US at the beginning of last year.
She said, she is excited the country’s meat processing company was able to implement the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA), and promised that her office will work closely with the corporation to ensure the US market is fully developed to its potential.
“We shall cooperate and arrange engagements with organic and free-range outlets and assist in getting Meatco’s products approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” said the diplomat, who also represents Namibia in the Bahamas, Canada, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras.
The US market is one of the newly opened niche markets in which Meatco started operating in February 2020.
According to Meatco, this new market came at the time when the Covid-19 pandemic caused many disruptions – but Meatco, as a company, saw the opportunity to utilise the AGOA legislation in 2002 when government, with the USA, requested approval to export beef products into the US.
Meatco utilised AGOA as a strategic gateway to make the best use of the export market.
Meatco said, although this application took almost 19-years to come to fruition, this market has finally opened, and it needs to be developed to its full potential.
Namibia, as a country, is a net exporter of beef, especially into the European Union (EU), Norway and the United Kingdom (UK).
According to Namibia’s National Statistics Institution (NSI), Namibia’s
agricultural contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (excluding fishing) over the last five years has been just over 4%.
Livestock farming contributes to approximately two-thirds of the agricultural production, with crop farming and forestry making up the remaining third of production.
Meat processing accounts for manufacturing, contributing to another 0.2% - 0.4% of GDP.
The Livestock sector plays a pivotal role in the Namibian economy, as over 70% of the Namibian population depends on agriculture for their livelihood.
The American market is pivotal to Meatco, as both the company and producers get maximum returns.
Under the final approval agreements, Meatco exports boneless beef (raw-intact, raw intact beef, boneless beef for manufacturing trimmings – manufacturing trimmings for cooking only).
Because of Meatco’s high-quality beef, Namibia became the first eligible country in Africa to export beef to the United States.