Meatco has finally received approval from China to start beef exports to that country following negotiations on the types of meat that can be exported, market trends and the storage requirement for shipping to Asia. The ball is now in Meatco’s court in terms of when and how much Namibian beef will be exported to China.
In January the Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) of the People’s Republic of China visited Meatco to conduct an audit on the facilities and to collect documentation for the possible export of Meatco products to the Asian market.
The company is now finalising the trading licence with AQSIQ – the regulatory body responsible for providing the import licence – as the last step in the process before export to China can start.
It is necessary to go through the administrative processes before final approval is rubber-stamped for Meatco. Operationally Meatco and the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) at plant and national level are dealing with protocol in terms of regulations and specifications for export.
Some of the concerns being ironed out relate to the 60-days requirement for cattle before slaughter and how this will be handled throughout the process, as well as the labelling of products and certification by DVS.
Meatco is hopeful that meat exports to the lucrative Chinese market, with a beef consumption of more than nine million tonnes annually, will go ahead as planned. Once approval is granted, Namibia will be the first country in Africa to qualify for beef-in-bone exports to China.
Meatco intends to request that government renegotiate with China to add vacuum-packed fresh beef to the product list. Vacuum-packed chilled beef and offal are sought-after products in the Chinese market, fetching premium prices.
Among the requirements to export beef to foreign markets, like China, is that all animals must be slaughtered at an abattoir approved by DVS. Also, beef must be sourced from a zone free of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) south of the Veterinary Cordon Fence and where vaccination is not practiced.
Animals should also have lived on the farm for at least 60 days before slaughter and must have been vaccinated against anthrax.