Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Calle Schlettwein has dismissed claims that Namibia’s meat from the Northern Communal Area (NCA) to Ghana carries foot and mouth diseases (FMD).
The response follows such claims making rounds on social media amid reports that a delegation of Namibian commercial farmers travelled to Ghana to ask the authorities to stop buying Namibian beef from the NCA.
“Namibia prides itself as a premier producer and net exporter of free-range quality and disease-free beef products, on the back of world-class veterinary, phytosanitary and food safety standards,”Schlettwein said.
“The Government of the Republic of Namibia has put in place a strict livestock production and animal movement regulatory framework, vaccination programme as well as investing in abattoir facilities in the NCAs to provide an enabling environment for safe and reliable market access for producers in these areas,”the minister said.
He further said that the beef exports from the NCAs are exported under the commodity-based trade from the export-approved abattoirs, based on the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) standards.
Meatco’s first consignment of beef from the NCAs was exported to Ghana in June last year through Tema port in Accra.
The meat was imported by the Abanga Farms and Food Systems, a Ghanaian company that signed a contract with Meatco as a sole distributor.
According to the minister, the country has ensured the implementation of the national FMD control programme which is World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) approved and application of the principles of Commodity Based Trade.
Schlettwein added that they have ensured “biosecure measures at export-approved abattoirs in line with commodity based trade such as the implementation of food safety management systems in line with Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles, ante and post mortem inspection and veterinary maturation.”
The minister labelled the allegations as false and desperate posturing by disgruntled entities hell-bent to disrupt market access for products from the NCA.
The development comes as a case over the removal of the red line is currently before court.
“The Ministry wishes to assure the Ghanaian market, all our markets and the Namibian public that the Namibian beef products from the NCA abattoirs are as disease-free as similar products from commercial areas of the country.
“Notably, the Government of the Republic of Namibia wishes to applaud and renew its compliments to the Government and people of the Republic of Ghana for the implementation of the agreement on cooperation and trade in the field of agriculture and for debunking these false representation,” Schlettwein said.