Namibia eyes meat exports to Ghana market while South Africa faces ban on poultry exports

NAMIBIA – Namibia, one of Africa’s leading exporter of meat has signed a general cooperation framework agreement with Ghana that seeks to promote bilateral trade ties.

The agreement will see Namibia exporting its meat to the West African nation, riding on the back of building the African Continental Free Trade Area.

This was revealed by Namibia’s Executive Director in the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, Pendapala Naanda, who indicated that a trade mission for Meat Corporation (Meatco), a state-owned meat processing and marketing entity, has been planned.

The Meatco delegation, according to reports by News Ghana, will engage major distributors and retailers of meat products in Ghana, who have shown a keen interest in Namibian meat and meat products.

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The two countries are set to complete each other under the trade as Namibia is world-renowned for its export of beef and related products, while Ghana is a major meat importer. The trade relations will also extend to other sectors.

“Namibia-Ghana bilateral relations continue to grow from strength to strength and are based on the premise that the two countries will become stronger and prosperous through combined efforts to address common challenges and take advantage of shared opportunities for mutual benefit,” said Naanda.

Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique ban poultry products from SA

Meanwhile, the government of Namibia has halted poultry imports from South Africa after the reported outbreak of the highly pathogenic Avian influenza (HPAI).

The HN5 avian influenza was detected at a commercial layer farm in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, with over 300 reported poultry deaths.

The ban which came into effect on 19 March 2021 includes transit movement of live poultry, birds, and other poultry products from South Africa.

According to Namibia’s Ministry of Agriculture Water and Land Reform, since the incubation period of the disease is 21 days as per WHO, the ban will be for 21 days.

“Consignments of poultry products packed in their final packaging on or after the date of suspension will be rejected and sent back to the country of origin or destroyed at the importer’s cost,” announced the ministry.

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The ministry has also notified all who had planned procuring poultry from South Africa, to find other ways to meet local demand.

“All previously issued import and in-transit permits to import poultry from the infected compartments are hereby cancelled and recalled with immediate effect,” said the ministry.

Botswana and Mozambique have also been reported to have followed suit with the imposition of ban directives.

“What is sad is that the HPAI outbreak is only on one farm, which has been isolated and is in strict quarantine. No new cases have been reported since this isolated one farm. Perhaps the closure of borders is premature.”

Colin Steenhuisen – Interim General Manager of the Egg Organisation of Sapa

South Africa reacts to the bans

The South African Poultry Association has termed the moves as bad news for the country and premature.

“What is sad is that the HPAI outbreak is only on one farm, which has been isolated and is in strict quarantine. No new cases have been reported since this isolated one farm. Perhaps the closure of borders is premature,” said Colin Steenhuisen, the interim general manager of the Egg Organisation of Sapa.

Steenhuisen said the local poultry industry would be negatively impacted by any lost sale of products, locally or internationally. “We hope and pray we have this isolated, to avoid a repeat of the 2017 outbreak.”

According to a report by the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) to Sapa in February 2018, the outbreak of HPAI in South Africa had a notable effect on the poultry industry, which was one of South Africa’s largest agricultural sub sectors.

Total cull numbers from the reported avian outbreaks in the broiler and layer industries were estimated at around 5.4 million birds.

Direct costs associated with the outbreak was around R40.5 million (US$2.8m), which could be even larger given the poor response rate on issues related to direct costs associated with the outbreak.

In terms of income foregone, BFAP said the total value was estimated at just more than R1.5 billion (US$105m), which included income lost from egg sales, pullet sales, day-old chick sales and broiler meat sales.

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