China now prime market for Namibian beef

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Tiri Masawi

Windhoek – China is now a prime market for Namibian beef, the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco) said last week after exporting 130 containers amounting to 3 000 tonnes of beef to that market.

Ironically, Namibia is one of the very few African countries that has managed to break into the tightly controlled Chinese market with agricultural produce. China controls its market from agriculture imports to safeguard its own farmers from unnecessary competition.

The move follows growth in reciprocal trade in different commodities with statistics by the Namibian Statistics Agency showing that China has now overtaken South Africa as the top export market for Namibian goods.

Among key trading commodities between the two countries are minerals, beef, technological equipment as well as well as miscellaneous goods from China which has a large market for the  Namibian poor.

Meatco vice chairperson Ronald Kubas said the Namibian company will continue exporting meat to China as it presents major market access to Namibia.

“China is a very good market for our beef as it pays cash for the delivered meat. The most important thing is that the Chinese prepay for their orders before delivery so chances are that we will continue exporting to that market in line with demand,” he said.

He also added that Namibia is well positioned to satisfy the demand in the Asian giant as well as cater for other markets, including Europe where the bulk of their beef goes.

Namibia and China opened avenues for beef products to enter the Chinese market about five years ago although the first consignment was only done in 2017, signalling a new era in the two countries engagements.

Meatco also revealed that they will continue engagements with the European Union following discussions of cross-over agreements with the trading bloc which are being conducted by different governments in SACU, post Brexit, to make sure continuity of trade is guaranteed.

Kubas also added that state owned Meatco is also looking at possibilities of importing cattle from Botswana as a restocking measure to supplement the devastating effects of drought on the country’s raw material supplies. Namibia faced its worst drought in 60 years in the current farming season and prospects of reasonable rain still remain gloomy in the forthcoming crop season

“Drought is a realistic thing in Namibia and we have had this problem for quite some time so we obviously have plans laid to deal with such challenges. One option we are closely looking at is importing cattle from Botswana to cater for our raw materials as our national herd suffered severe setbacks from the drought,” he said.

 

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