NAMIBIA – Namibia has successfully exported its first consignment of beef to the USA following 18 years of extensive negotiations between the two countries.

According to the President and consultant for Import Export Associates (IEA) in Namibia, Leonard Lang the 25 tonnes beef batch by Meat Corporation of Namibia (MeatCo) was dispatched in February this year and reached its destination on 17th April.

MeatCo is a meat processing company headquartered in Windhoek and the largest exporter of prime beef in Namibia.

In 2002 and 2005, Namibia initiated negotiations on the export of meat products to the US, with the intention of exporting boneless raw beef products such as prime cuts, chuck, blade and beef trimming.

Agro Merchants, the Mullica Hill team operating the largest import establishment in the country, inspected the beef consignment to see whether it met the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards.

In addition to that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in the US re-inspected the consignment.

Deputy prime minister and international relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said the export signifies how ties between Namibia and the US continue to be strengthened through different bilateral agreements and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

“I think this may be one of the longest protocols ever that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of USA and the Namibian Directorate of Veterinary Service (DVS) had taken to ensure all technical areas are cleared and are in accordance with various established protocols. Namibia is proud of this achievement,” she added.

Namibia underwent several audits in September 2019, including a public health and assurance audit by the US through the Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS).

On an annual basis, DVS submits an online self-audit, which FSIS verifies with an on-site audit every two years. Meatco will be exporting boneless raw beef products and may also export both chilled and frozen boneless meat to the US.