By Adedapo Adesanya
Southern African nation, Namibia, has become the first nation on the continent to export red meat to the United States, following almost 20 years of negotiations, testing, and discussions.
The United States is the world’s biggest red meat consumer as Americans consume on average 120 kg of meat per person, and as the demand for the commodity increases globally, this proved a good opportunity for the nation.
The state-owned meat company, Meatco, sent a shipment of 25 tonnes of beef to Philadelphia in the US on Wednesday, and with this, it paves way for Namibia to export 860 tonnes of various beef cuts in 2020 to the United States, and this could further rise to 5,000 tonnes by 2025.
According to the country’s minister of international relations, Mr. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, “We’re able to finally export meat to the lucrative and big United States market. ”
Namibia’s first commercial consignment came after samples were sent in the past 24 months to laboratories in the United States for tests. This followed negotiations over safety regulations and logistics that started in 2002.
Under the deal between Namibia and the US, it will exports red meat which range from boneless to raw beef cuts in frozen or chilled form.
“Namibia will benefit economically from tapping into the largest consumer market with purchasing power of $13 trillion, and U.S. consumers will benefit from access to Namibia’s high-quality, free-range, grass-fed beef,” US ambassador to Namibia, Ms Lisa Johnson said.
Namibia exports continue to grow with this as it also exported close to 12,400 metric tonnes of meat to Norway, Britain, the European Union and Chinese markets in 2019.
Agriculture contributes about 5 percent to Namibia’s economy but farming including cattle raising contributes to nearly two-thirds of the population’s income.
This is a plus for the nation as Namibia’s exports will also benefit from a duty-free regime under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
AGOA is a United States Trade Act enacted on May 18, 2000 as Public Law 106 of the 200th Congress and signed by President George Bush and has since been renewed by President Barack Obama to 2025.
The legislation significantly enhances market access to the US for qualifying Sub-Saharan African countries such as Nigeria, Namibia, Ghana, among others.
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