After 18 years of negotiations, Meatco was finally given the go ahead to start beef exports to the United States.
This comes after the meat processor meet all the requirements of the US Department of Agriculture and the US Food Safety and Inspection Services and was able to send its first shipment of 25 tons of chilled beef to Philadelphia on Wednesday.
“In 2002 and gain in 2005, the government of Namibia initiated negotiations on the export of meat (beef) products to the United States, with the intention to export boneless (not ground) raw beef products.
Today ,18 years later, we are able to finally export meet to the lucrative and big US market. I think this maybe one of the longest protocols ever that the Food Safety and Inspection Services of USA and the Namibian Directorate of Veterinary Services had taken to ensure that all technical areas are cleared and are in accordance with various established protocols,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said
US Ambassador to Namibia, Lisa Johnson said the beef export by Meatco will create more opportunities for the country and the beef sector.
“Meatco has submitted itself to rigorous tests of its beef products and processes in order to gain access to the US market and is regularly audited. Namibia will benefit economically from tapping into the world’s largest consumer market with a purchasing power of US$13 trillion and US consumers will benefit from access to Namibia’s high-quality, free-range, grass-fed and hormone and antibiotic free beef,” Johnson said.
She said the company will be able to access the US market duty-free under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
“Since 2000, AGOA has served as the cornerstone of US economic engagement with Africa. AGOA has helped create hundreds of thousands of jobs and economic opportunities across the continent. Meatco is a trailblazer and is paving the way for more Namibian industries to take advantage of AGOA benefits,” Johnson said.
Meatco Vice -chairperson, Ronald Kubas said the opening of the Us market provided the company access of a lucrative market with a huge growth potential.
“It is indeed a big milestone for the Meatco Corporation of Namibia. Meatco is constantly looking to access lucrative markets in order to get maximum returns for producers,” he said.