Zimbabwe has struck a deal with Namibia for the supply of 1 000 tonnes of beef to meet the deficit that has been created by drought, Zimbabwe Ambassador to Namibia Chipo Zindoga has said.The meat would be coming from the northern communal areas of Namibia.
Addressing a Press conference in Namibia last week, Ambassador Zindoga said the deal came as a relief to Zimbabweans who were losing cattle daily due to drought.
She dismissed fears that Zimbabwe could be importing contaminated meat saying experts certified the meat safe.
"It is normal that when meat is being exported from point A to point B there would be fears that there could be diseases in the meat since the request was to export boned meat," said Ambassador Zindoga.
"We managed to allay those fears after having been assured by the professionals."
Ambassador Zindoga said the deal should be sustained over a long time and Namibians should also import agricultural produce from Zimbabwe.
"I also hope that our Namibian counterparts will look at importing products like pork, chicken, fruits and vegetables which are in demand in the northern areas of that country," she said.
"There is an abundance of these in Zimbabwe. I am aware that Namibia has infant industry protection on chickens, but this is an issue that can be discussed at the bilateral level. It would be uneconomical for those refrigerated trucks to drive back all the way from Zimbabwe empty."
Ambassador Zindoga stressed the need for both countries to promote reciprocal trade to foster regional integration. The two countries, said Ambassador Zindoga, have strong relations but have not managed to translate that into deeper economic co-operation.
"Our business people have lagged behind for a long time. The level of trade is very low when there is great potential to do more," she said. "The business people have failed to fully take advantage of the Bilateral Preferential Trade Agreement between our two countries. I am optimistic that this initiative will go a long way in ensuring a mutually beneficial trade and investment relationship."
Zimbabwe was hit by drought last season resulting in food shortages and some livestock farmers having difficulties in feeding their animals, while others are importing feeds.
Government and farmers unions are running several projects to ensure farmers in drought-stricken areas have access to stock feeds.