Windhoek — Namibian beef may have to wait a little longer before given the go-ahead to sit on Chinese tables but on the other hand fishery and other marine products have been given the okay for export to what is regarded as one of the world's largest consumer markets.
Chinese Ambassador to Namibia, Xin Shunkang, revealed this export breakthrough yesterday following a closed-door meeting in Windhoek with Prime Minister Dr Hage Geingob.
He said only fishery products have been given the green light into China this year following an assessment of the Namibian fish and meat industry by a high-level Chinese delegation from the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) last year.
The Chinese appear to be dissatisfied with the quality of Namibian meat. But they are set to send another team of experts to Namibia this year for further investigations.
"The team that came to Namibia did a very good investigation and gave a very good report to the Chinese government.
"The good news is that, for this year, Namibian fishmeal can enter the Chinese market, but for beef negotiations are still ongoing," Xin said. He added that it has been his mission "since I came to Namibia six months ago to ensure trade relations, especially in fish and meat products, between the two countries.
"I will focus on this and ensure there are good results," the ambassador said.
The Chinese delegation from AQSIQ paid a courtesy call on Agriculture, Water and Forestry Minister John Mutorwa on August 20 last year, and spent two weeks in the country. A team of beef experts visited the Okahandja abattoir, Oshakati abattoir, Meatco and other industry role players such as the Meat Board of Namibia.
The team of Chinese fishery experts visited fish processing facilities in Walvis Bay and LÃ¼deritz.
The delegation's visit to Namibia came after Namibia and China signed an agreement on animal health and quarantine in 2011, in order to facilitate trade in meat, fish and other aquatic animals and their products.
At the time Chinese experts came to Namibia last year Mutorwa assured the delegation that "we also have strong and competent veterinary services in the country, which have demonstrated their capability to prevent and control animal diseases".
Also present at the Prime Minister's Office during Geingob's meeting with the Chinese ambassador yesterday were Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and Erkki Nghimtina, the Minister of Works and Transport.