By Kuzeeko Tjitemisa
China has finally agreed to lift the argumentative clause on lumpy skin disease (LSD), which has prevented Namibia from exporting beef to that country, the former agriculture minister John Mutorwa has revealed.
Mutorwa, recently appointed as the new minister of works and transport, made this announcement while bidding farewell to staff at the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in the capital yesterday.
“By the way I am coming from State House now – we met the Chinese delegation and they have decided to relax all conditions that prevented us to export meat to China,” said Mutorwa. Chief veterinary officer Dr Milton Maseke yesterday said the agriculture ministry is looking into the proposal the Chinese have made and as soon as that is done the minister will sign the new agreement.
“After the signing of the new agreement, hopefully some producer will qualify but not all of them will qualify because the Chinese are bringing in new requirements,” he said, adding that 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 (BSE), 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 (EU), and about 1,850 metric tons Norwegian markets.
SOURCE: New Era.