November 27, 2003



Namibian Halt Beef & Mutton Exports To EU

The Namibian government has halted the export of beef and mutton to the European Union after an EU mission found those involved in Namibian agriculture did not fulfil some EU health directives.


The Agriculture Ministry said in a statement yesterday that an EU mission had been inspecting abattoirs and other agricultural sites across the country since last Thursday and would conclude its inspection today.


Its report is due tomorrow.


The Ministry said the EU mission looked at animal and public health control systems, with particular reference to avoiding mad-cow disease and foot-and-mouth infections.


But it emerged that the EU team had found some procedures violated EU rules.


As a result, meat exports had been put on hold with immediate effect, the Ministry said.


"We needed to show them that we can do, and have done, something on the spot to correct the situation," Bernd Rothkegel, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, told The Namibian yesterday.


He said the problems were not yet all clear, but it seemed one was that trucks carrying animals were not being sterilised often enough.


But he said there were abattoirs where this could be done after unloading animals.


On Friday, the ministry officials, veterinarians and the meat industry will gather to discuss how the required improvements can be accomplished, and how long this will take.


Local meat sales, and exports to South Africa, are unaffected by the ban, Rothkegel said.


Meatco, the biggest meat processing company in Namibia, said it would issue a statement after tomorrow's meeting.


Namibia exports about 10, 000 tons of meat to the EU each year, most of it to Britain.


Last year, commercial agriculture contributed N$1,035 billion to Namibia's gross domestic product, according to the Bank of Namibia.

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