Namibia has become the first African country to export red meat to the United States, following nearly two decades of negotiations.
The state-owned meat firm Meatco sent a shipment of 25 tonnes of beef to Philadelphia on February 19 and the Southern African nation is set to export 860 tonnes of various beef cuts in 2020 to the United States, rising to 5,000 tonnes by 2025.
“We’re able to finally export meat to the lucrative and big U.S. market,” said Namibia’s minister of international relations, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the United States is the world’s biggest red meat consumer as Americans consume on average 120 kgs of meat per person.
Namibia’s first commercial consignment came after samples were sent in the past 24 months to U.S. laboratories for tests.
Negotiations over safety regulations and logistics have spanned 18 years.
Under the deal, exports will include boneless, raw beef cuts in frozen or chilled form.