Staff Writer

Meatco has announced that it is currently exploring new markets in West and Central Africa to find a lasting solution for the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs) farmers.

The move by the meat processor, which is part of a delegation made up of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform and facilitated by the Ministry of International Relations and Corporation, is aimed at engaging with business communities on the possibilities of exporting beef as part of efforts to finding competitive and sustainable markets for the NCAs livestock farmers.

The engagements are made possible through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement, signed earlier this year, which enables for African economies to trade and grow their economies. “The growth at home strategy should work for Namibia while high priority should be given to unleash potential of the AfCFTA and more so that the Harambee Prosperity II, especially pillar 2 of the plan that of Economic Advancement focusing on Enhance Productivity of Priority Economic sectors such as Primary Agriculture production can be realised,” Meatco’s CEO Mwilima Mushokabanji said adding that “the AfCFTA is coming at the right time where our borders need to work together and capitalise on trade negotiations.”

The delegation is this week in Congo Brazzaville and with the assistance of the Namibian Ambassador to Congo Brazzaville, Sipapela Cletius Sipapela, is engaging with captains of industry of the Brazzaville Chamber of Commerce to make use of the long-term partnership between the two countries.

The delegation also visited Ghana, which offers opportunity for the NCAs meat products. These countries are advanced economies and with their relatively high population the markets are vast and lucrative for NCAs beef.

Agriculture’s contribution to GDP (excluding fishing) over the last five years has been just over four percent. Livestock farming contributes to about two-thirds of agricultural production, with crop farming and forestry making up the remaining third of production, while Meat processing accounts for under manufacturing contributes to another 0.2 – 0.4 percent of GDP.

Over 70 percent of the Namibian population depends on agriculture as livelihood. Farmers’ livelihood, especially livestock producers, has been badly affected since the closure of Northern Communal Area abattoirs.

Further consultations between the competent authorities of these countries and Namibia’s Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) will continue to agree on the conditions for certification to facilitate for the smooth trade between the two countries.