Nigeria still delays on ranching as Namibia starts beef export to China

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Namibia has broken a new ground for the African continent as its A-grade beef enters China, the world’s largest consumer market, opening an enormous opportunity for its ranchers but Nigeria continues to fail at elaborating a clear ranching policy.

Elia Kaiyamo, Namibian ambassador to China welcomed the first batch of Namibian beef, Tuesday, in China during a ceremony in Shijazhaung, in the Hebei Province.

Namibia is the first African country to export beef into China. Since 2005 the country has been in the process of obtaining access to the Chinese market for its beef products. A final memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in March last year. The first agreement on animal health and quarantine, between the two countries, was signed in Beijing, 2011.

“Here, on behalf of my government and my people, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all those who have been working hard to make this happen” Kaiyamo said.

China has been identified as an important market for Namibia as it imports 6.5 million tonnes of beef, 250, 000 tonnes of mutton, 2.3 million tonnes of pork and 1.7 million tonnes of chicken yearly. This is a market Nigeria can also compete for.

Namibia is a semi-arid country, well-endowed with natural pastures and is suited for extensive livestock ranching, comprising 37 percent of the land area. Its nature-based beef products have long been preferred favourable worldwide especially in European Union countries, Norway and South Africa. Namibia has less than 4 million heads of cattle.

Nigeria has a bigger potential but the absence of ranching facilities has stalled the development of this industry. A 2018 report by BusinessDay showed that Nigeria has an estimated 19 million heads of cattle and on a conservative estimation of N100, 000 per cattle;