Windhoek-To qualify for export to China, Namibian beef must be from animals born and raised in disease-free zones and have been at least 60 days on the farm of origin prior to transportation to the approved abattoir.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has informed all Namibian beef producers about the new requirements to participate in the export of beef to China through approved export abattoirs. This comes after China finally agreed to lift the inhibitive clause on lumpy skin disease (LSD), which has prevented Namibia from exporting beef to that country. China approved the export of Namibian beef to that country last month with a few additional conditions.
According to circular NoV10/2018, issued by the chief veterinary officer, Dr Milton Maseke, farmers are expected to obtain a 60-day residency statement at the farm of origin from state veterinary offices prior to moving the animals and the ear tag numbers of animals being transported for slaughter should be clearly marked on the statement.
Hence, no cattle coming directly from auctions or permit sales will be permitted for export to China. Cattle qualifying for export to China must originate from a farm with no clinical signs of lumpy skin disease for the past 18 months and the animals have not been vaccinated against LSD at least 60 days prior to the slaughter.
Cattle should also not have been vaccinated against anthrax 14 days prior to slaughter or come from a farm which had cat bluetongue, Aujesky’s disease, Q-fever, tuberculosis, anthrax, Bovine Viral Diarrhoea and Bruccolis detected during the past 12 months. No other cattle should have been introduced to the farm of origin from other zones or countries for the past 12 months and cattle should not have been fed with meal-and-bone meal or greaves derived from ruminants. Vehicles on which the cattle travel from farm of origin must be cleaned and disinfected before loading. A signed declaration attesting that the farmer has observed the requirements for vaccination must be attached to the animal health movement permit.
The abattoirs registered to export beef to China should use the functionalities on the Namlits traceability system, and the signed declaration forms by the producer to verify compliance of the animals before presenting them to the state veterinarian for inspection. All declaration forms with the endorsed livestock movement permit should be returned to the state veterinary office for filing.
These new requirements mean that all producers will not only qualify but the ministry’s aim is to start trading and then negotiate conditions so that more people can participate.
After the agreement signed by the two countries in 2016, Namibia was expected to start exporting bone-in beef to China, making it the only country in Africa to export beef to that country. Under the signed agreement, beef exports must come from areas south of the veterinary cordon fence that are free of disease, including the contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (lung sickness), LSD and bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow disease.
Furthermore, the two parties also agreed that the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry shall be responsible for the inspection and quarantine of beef to be exported and the issuing of veterinary certificates.
Currently, Namibia exports 17,000 metric tons of meat products to South Africa per annum, about 10,000 metric tons to the European Union, and about 1,850 metric tons to Norwegian markets.