Namibia meat processor MeatCo fulfils Norwegian beef quota despite low production rates

NAMIBIA – Despite low production rates and a decrease in beef marketing numbers witnessed in 2022, Namibia was still able to fulfil its share of the Southern African Customs Union Norwegian 2022 beef quota of 3,200 tonnes.

The Norway quota is jointly allocated to Namibia and Botswana on a 50-50 basis in that the two countries are supposed to export meat to the Norwegian market equally as per the terms of SACU.

The Market is important for both countries’ meat industries as it generated N$520 million (US$28.8M) in export earnings in 2021, as highlighted on the Meat Board of Namibia website.

The Meat Board of Namibia also reported that beef exporters were able to not only utilise Namibia’s 50% share (1 600 tonnes) but also exported additional 225 tonnes as  Botswana could not fully utilise its share.

The board facilitates the exportation of meat and meat products to importing countries such as Ghana and Angola with the hopes of expanding Namibia’s beef exports to the Middle East as well.

According to CEO Mr Mushokabanji, MeatCo is the only commercial public enterprise in Africa exporting to luxury markets and maintaining access for Namibian beef to traditional export markets like South Africa, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Norway.

“Through our Norwegian quota, in particular, MeatCo has never failed to fill our allocated quota. In fact, MeatCo assisted to fill part of the Norway quota for Botswana,” Mushokabanji said.

It is reported that Botswana failed to fill its allocated quota due to the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease that hit the country and its adjacent neighbour South Africa.

According to the Board, Namibian beef is well-placed in Norway and commands high returns. In comparison with Botswana, Namibia receives better prices.

However, MeatCo, the state-owned meat processing and marketing entity, has reportedly been grappling with a financial decline phase with stakeholders fearing the liquidation of the company.

The minister of agriculture, Calle Schlettwein described the entity as a dying cow in ICU adding that the state is soon going to have to make a decision regarding the closure of the organisation.

In response to these allegations, CEO Mukobanji retorted that the company is doing quite well and that it was in the midst to repay all its debt which was its biggest challenge in the past few years.

In a recent press conference, Mushokabanji announced that the company recently came up with a robust strategy to pay off its outstanding debt of N$250 million (US$16.79m) from FNB Namibia and another N$94 million (US$ 6.31) to Bank Windhoek.

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