The world's largest consumer market opens its doors for Namibian beef

17 Sep 2015

The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Honourable John Mutorwa, announced earlier this week that the Republic of Namibia and the People’s Republic of China signed a protocol on Veterinary Health Conditions and Quarantine in Beijing for the actual and practical exportation of Namibian beef to China.

“I want to state emphatically that this new market is open to all Namibians who wish to export beef to China. Today Namibia is the only market in Africa and one of ten markets in the world to supply beef to that country,” Mutorwa said.

Meatco’s Chief Financial Officer, Nico Weck said, “We are excited about the opening of an alternative market, as it brings many additional opportunities for us with regards to the range of products we produce. The export of bone-in meat is of special significance to Namibia.”

Rosa Katjivena, Meatco’s Executive for Quality Assurance, said the Chinese market is a very good alternative should anything happen to our current markets. “The biggest breakthrough is the bone-in product that will be allowed to China. Bone-in forequarter cuts deliver better returns than the current boneless prices we get from South-Africa, thus widening the basket for our high-end segment,” she said.

According to Meatco’s Executive for Policy Innovation, Stakeholder Relations and Corporate Affairs, Vehaka Tjimune, the opening of the Chinese market must be viewed and appreciated from a market diversification perspective. “Access to a sole lucrative market like the EU remains risky to rely on,” he said.

“China has allowed bone-in product, meaning that we do not need to debone all the meat destined for that market. In our opinion this is a big achievement for Namibia as well as a vote of confidence in our Veterinary Authorities and our standards and systems. For well over 15 years Namibia has had a pending application to export bone-in meat to the EU – an application for which we have still not received a positive answer. So the stamp of approval from China goes a long way in terms of marketing our forequarter beef. Eventually this will also assist with our throughput,” he said.

At a media conference held in Windhoek, Hon. Mutorwa explained that a Memorandum of Agreement on Cooperation in Animal Health and Quarantine between Namibia and China was signed on 16 December 2011. The agreement signed four years ago has now provided the framework for negotiations on beef import requirements from Namibia to China.

“Signing the Protocol on 3 August 2015 is significant as it opens an alternative market for Namibian beef, particularly because China is the world’s biggest consumer market,” Mutorwa said.

As from 3 August 2015, the Chinese market legally allows the import of Namibian bone-in beef from the areas in Namibia that are free of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD), provided that the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) of the MAWF certifies that the animals are slaughtered and the beef is processed at an export approved slaughterhouse or abattoir.

“The fact that Namibia can export bone-in beef to the world’s largest consumer market will most certainly allow our country’s producers to send bigger volumes of meat,” Mutorwa said.

He added that the Namibian 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 conform to China’s export requirements.

Hon. Mutorwa called upon all stakeholders of the Namibian meat industry to pursue the opportunity presented by this lucrative market and to work hard towards supplying the volume of beef required by the Chinese market.