14 February 2013

Namibia: New EU Residency Rule Will Hurt Producers

Article Views (non — Namibia's meat producers say they expect to record losses amounting to thousands of dollars in revenues, because of the newly introduced 40-day residency rule of the European Union (EU) that came into effect last week.

Under the new rule slaughter livestock meant for export to the EU should be in isolation for 40 days with no interaction with any other livestock not meant for export. Any contact would result in the livestock being disqualified for slaughter for the EU market. The Directorate of Veterinary Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry made the announcement last week. However, livestock producers have responded with disappointment to the new requirement.

The new requirement means that Namibian producers could lose 25 percent per kilogram of the livestock load that comes into contact with animals that have not been in isolation for 40 days. In a news brief, Meatco announced that up until now it has carried the loss of animals becoming non-compliant, because of the new regulation, but will only continue to do so until February 22.

Producers who spoke to New Era say it is obvious that the new regulation was put into effect overnight in preparation for the EU inspection that will commence on February 19 and last until March 01.

Oloff Manjanu of the Namibian National farmers Union (NNFU) expressed his dissatisfaction over the rule in no uncertain terms.

"We as the umbrella organization for farmers do not reject the new regulation, but we have deep concerns regarding the effect it will have on communal farmers. It is simply impossible to demand that cattle with EU status must be separated from other animals in communal areas for 40 days before slaughtering. The EU has declared farms south of the Veterinary Cordon disease free a long time ago. Why now suddenly these stringent new regulations? This could very well mean that communal farmers will eventually be excluded from the EU export train. Something too horrifying to image," he said.

"We Namibian farmers have time and again complied with new EU rules and regulations, and we encourage communal producers to slaughter their animals at Meatco and be part of the prime quality products we deliver to EU markets. But this announcement came out of the blue last week, and now we are expected to comply and be fully prepared. It is mission impossible. We cannot separate animals in communal areas on such short notice, neither can our farmers afford to fence off cattle with EU status from other animals. And we certainly cannot keep animals apart from each other at auctions in the communal areas. Neither can we afford to transport animals with different status in different trucks and avoid any contact. And no communal producer can afford to lose 25 percent per kilogram because of the new regulation," the NNFU said.

The EU inspection will include the evaluation of controls in terms of animal and public safety with respect to the production of fresh beef and game meat destined for EU markets, and certification procedures.

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