Namibia can now export beef to the Chinese territory of Hong Kong after the Hong Kong Veterinary Authority approved the health certificate for the import of beef from abattoirs in Windhoek and Okahandja.

Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) Chief Veterinary Officer Milton Maseke told the media here Wednesday: "This is a positive development and this ends our negotiation process with the Hong Kong Veterinary Authority for the export of beef to that territory. It is time to start now physically moving products from Namibia to Hong Kong."

The move opens up an alternative market for Namibian beef. Namibia produces about 60,000 tonnes of beef products annually and exports roughly 20,000 tonnes to South Africa and the European Union (EU).

Namibia and China signed a Protocol on Veterinary Health Conditions and Quarantine two years ago to pave the way for the export of Namibian beef and mutton to mainland China.

However, the issue on exporting mutton is not yet clarified.

"The issue of exporting beef to Hong Kong is now in the hands of (meat processing company) Meatco to prepare themselves to find a market in Hong Kong and apply for a certificate of import to move the product into Hong Kong," said Maseke.

The entrance of Namibian beef in Hong Kong will happen as soon as Meatco, the largest meat processor in Namibia, get a market on the other side and as soon as it procures the products that comply with the conditions in the health certificate.

Among the health requirements are that all cattle eligible for export should be born and raised in foot-and-mouth-disease free zones where vaccination is not practiced. These animals must also bear a unique identification mark, and should be traced back to the farm of origin.

The export of beef also includes livers and lungs.

"The challenge now is on our producers to try to meet the demand in Hong Kong by increasing our production as the demand is expected to be more than what we produce," said Maseke.

Source: Nam News Network