Beef exports to China a reality soon

20 Oct 2015 19:20pm

WINDHOEK, 20 OCT (NAMPA) ? The exportation of beef to the Chinese markets is awaiting the go-ahead from the relevant authorities, an official from the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) says. Namibia is the first African country to export bone-in beef to China. The two countries signed a protocol on veterinary health conditions and quarantine on 03 August 2015 in Beijing, China. For the purposes of the protocol, beef means the frozen deboned and bone-in meat, excluding head, feet, offal and viscera, and other by-products. Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) Tina Shilongo said the export of beef to China will become a reality soon. He was speaking during a media briefing here on Tuesday. ?We are almost there. We are just waiting for the local companies to get export and registration numbers,? she noted. This would be finalised in due course, according to Shilongo. The three local companies that are waiting for approval for beef exports to China include the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco), Witvlei Meat, and Brukkaros Meat Processors (BMP). Announcing the deal during a media briefing in August this year, the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa emphasised that the cattle should be born and reared in the foot-and-mouth (FMD)-free zone of Namibia. ?I want to stress that this new China market is open for all Namibians who wish to export beef to China and not for certain companies or individuals only. The government did not negotiate this market for a specific group of people or companies,? he stated. Government shall continue to create the necessary conducive business environment for all local entrepreneurs and business people to take advantage of such opportunities, as long as they agree and conform that the export requirements of China are scrupulously complied with to the letter and spirit of the signed protocol, Mutorwa said. The Chinese market, as opposed to the European Union (EU), Switzerland and Norway markets, will allow for the importation of bone-in beef, provided that the animals are slaughtered and the beef is processed and certified at an export-approved slaughterhouse or abattoir by the DVS in the line ministry. The cattle for export purposes should comply with the following: the farm has not introduced any cloven-hooved animal from the region other than FMD-free zone of Namibia where vaccination is not practiced during the past 12 months; animals shall be resident on the farm for at least 60 days prior to slaughter; animals were vaccinated against Anthrax; animals have never been fed with any materials originating from ruminant, except milk, and never used veterinary medicine and feed additives prohibited by China or Namibia. Currently, Namibia exports 17 000 metric tonnes of meat products to South Africa per annum; about 10 000 metric tonnes to the European Union (EU); and about 1 850 to Norwegian markets. (NAMPA) PC/CT/AS