Meatco concerned over US cattle farmers’ export stance

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Windhoek

Meatco has noted with grave concern the views and comments of the US Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) and the general public regarding the possible enlisting of Namibia to export meat to the US.

New Era reported last Friday on the concerns raised by USCA regarding beef imports from Namibia, and the Meat Board of Namibia countering these objections.

In its response, Meatco yesterday pointed out that the company and its Namibian producers have a long track record of operating in some of the world’s most sophisticated markets over a long period, including Norway and Denmark.
“Namibia is a net exporter of beef with approximately 85% of production being exported. This figure includes the export of live weaners to South Africa,” Meatco noted.

“In 2000 Namibia was granted 13 000 tonnes of beef quota under the Cotonou Agreement to export beef to the EU.

“This preference was replaced by the duty-free quota under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) since July 2014.”
Rosa Hamukuaja-Thobias, Manager: Corporate Affairs, said Norway has zero tolerance for salmonella and in this respect Meatco’s record speaks volumes. Since 2006 Meatco did not encounter any product rejections from Norway based on salmonella.

“Meaning Meatco Namibia has consistently been meeting the most stringent export requirements. As stated by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), in their proposal, Namibia has a meat inspection system that is equivalent to that of the US Federal Meat Inspections Act,” she said.

“Namibia has a robust system that enables us to trace products from farm to fork. This system has been tested in the recent past, as there were instances where we were required to trace the product back from client to the farm of origin. Fact is we have been able to trace the product, which proves that our traceability system works effectively.”

“Our factories rival the very best in the world in terms of hygiene and standards that we observe. Year on year Namibia and the Meatco factories have been subjected to third party audits by our international clients. Our plants have passed the British Retail Consortium (BRC) audits with A ratings for four years consecutively. It is on this basis that Meatco would like to invite the US Cattlemen’s Association to come over and have a look before they continue with their lobby,” she said.

The total United States import of beef averages 2.47 billion pounds per year for 2012-2014, projected to be 2.91 billion pounds in 2015. Therefore, the projected Namibia beef imports in 2015 would only be about 0.007% of total U.S. production and 0.07% of total U.S. imports.

“If Namibia achieves the projected export goal in 2019 and assuming that United States beef production and import volume stay about the same, the projected beef imports from Namibia would still only be about 0.05% of total U.S. production,and 0.5% of total U.S. imports,” Meatco said.

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