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Namibia becomes the first African country to export red meat to the US

21 February 2020

Following two decades of haggling over safety regulations and logistics, Namibia becomes the first African country to export red meat to the US after it sent 25 tonnes of beef to Philadelphia.

According to reporting from Reuters, the arid southern African nation, known for free-range, hormone-free beef, is set to export 860 tonnes of various beef cuts in 2020 to the United States, rising to 5,000 tonnes by 2025.

The United States tops the world list for red meat consumption per head. Americans consume on average 120 kgs of meat per person, according the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), making meat exports to the country a prime target.

"We're able to finally export meat to the lucrative and big US market," Namibia's minister of international relations, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, said on Wednesday.

She was speaking in the capital Windhoek, where state-owned meat firm Meatco is headquartered, as the first shipment of meat set off, after negotiations that spanned 18 years.

The target would be the massive US fast food industry and franchises like McDonald’s, the minister said.

The shipment is first commercial consignment after samples were sent in the past 24 months to US laboratories for tests.

Under the deal, exports will include boneless, raw beef cuts in frozen or chilled form.

Agriculture contributes about 5 percent to Namibia's economy but farming including cattle raising contributes to nearly two-thirds of the population's income.

In 2019, Namibia exported about 12,400 metric tonnes of meat to Norway, Britain, the European Union and Chinese markets.

"Namibia will benefit economically from tapping into the largest consumer market with purchasing power of $13 trillion, and US consumers will benefit from access to Namibia’s high-quality, free-range, grass-fed beef," US ambassador to Namibia, Lisa Johnson, said.

Namibia's exports will also benefit from a duty-free regime under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)



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