THE Namibian beef export trade is a nationally and globally enhancing industry with multiple economic and social benefits. The trade creates domestic and international employment, fosters cross-cultural relationships, builds international trade and supplies a safe, reliable and high quality form of protein to growing populations. Above all it is a major driving force behind a global progression towards improved animal welfare practices for all livestock species.
Learning that Namibia can now export beef to the United States of America, according to a July 13 decision by the US government as the only African state and one of only 33 countries worldwide have been approved to export meat to the US, prompts a better understanding of the how the US market will in its growth provide wider and greater market opportunities for Namibia.
According to Bloomberg, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data shows that Americans will eat an estimated 54.3 pounds of the red meat this year—the first increase since 2006 and almost half a pound more per person than in 2015 creating a greater scope for Namibia and enriching this western niche market.
As we further interrogate this market we have to realise that at the start of 2014, U.S. cattle supplies were the lowest in more than six decades after years of drought in the South and Southwest. The shortage sent beef prices soaring, creating opportunities for foreign suppliers to supply beef products to the US.
However, it should be noted that even with this year’s increase in beef consumption, it is still much lower than in the past. In 1976, for example, Americans ate as much as 94.3 pounds per person although this does not deter the extent of the US beef market as a whole as the past has always shown a growing trend in beef requirements.
Looking back, United States beef imports in 2007 ranged at 933,330 metric tons (2.05 billion pounds). The United States imported more than 11 percent of its beef consumption in 2007, and more than 12 percent of beef was expected to come from imports in 2008.
In conclusion therefore, the envisaged potential volume of meat exports to the United States as much as 860 000 kg in the first year after the ruling’s enactment, increasing to as much as 5.7 million kg in five years cannot be undermined as the market provides efficient clientele to consume adequate volumes from Namibia holistically aiding the nation’s prosperity drive.
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