By Staff Reporter
30 years after Independence, Namibian farmers remain deeply divided because of the much talked Veterinary Cordon Fence, colloquially called the “red line. At no point was the divide as evident as during the launch of the ‘send-off’ of the first consignment of Namibian beef to the USA. Projected to be as much as 862 metric tons, beef exports are expected to increase to about 5,670 metric tons by 2021 and to 5,7 million kg by 2025, Government seems to have forgotten about the task force formed in 2016. Headed by Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Ndaitwah who co-incidently launched the “send off”, The Patriot has learnt that the nation is no step closer since 2016 to secure FMD-free status for farmers in Kavango, Zambezi and the four O’ regions.
Sourced through Meatco, Ndaitwah says “it is with a sense of appreciation and gratification that I stand here today to witness this great milestone. The exportation of the Namibian beef to the United States of America is a great achievement in the advancement of our economic diplomacy.
Therefore, I am proud of the entire Namibian Agricultural industry/farming especially the livestock producers for their hard work thus making a meaningful contribution to the National Developmental Agenda. Today’s occasion signifies how ties between Namibia and the United States of America continues to be strengthened through different bilateral agreements. It is important to note that through the African Opportunity Growth Act (AGOA), we are able to see some of those come to fruition.”
The first consignment underwent an audit to determine that Namibia remains in compliance and maintains the required standards for export. Such audit is carried out every eighteen months.
The consignment consists of boneless raw beef products such as primal cuts along with chuck and beef trimmings.
At the occasion, Agriculture Minister, Alpheus !Naruseb congratulated the officials in the Directorate of Veterinary Services, Meatco management and staff members, who performed exceptionally well in various USDA-APHIS and FSIS audits. “The significance of exports of Namibian beef is more than just adding yet another high-quality ingredient to the American people’s plate; it marks the success of two countries in the realisation of win-win cooperation,” he said.
Nandi-Ndaitwah commented, “I must say, 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. These are truly brave people in the land of the brave.
I also thank Meatco for their highly specialised skills in processing one of the best quality beef in the world. When we started negotiations for market access of Namibian beef to the US market, no other African country had ever exported beef to the USA despite the fact that this is the world’s biggest beef consuming market.
It was therefore an ambitious undertaking for Namibia, a country with 2,4 million cattle and competing for a share in a market claimed and defended by the developed beef producing countries of the world.”
The Patriot spoke to two farmers in Kavango East about the opportunity and they expressed their disappointment stating “ it’s a pity we loose out again, so many years, we lose again” lamented Muremi.