Namibia has becomes the first African country to export beef to the United States of America (USA), with the first consignment scheduled to leave Namibia on Sept 9.

A final ruling from the United States (US) Food Safety and Inspection Service published on July 13 added Namibia to the list of countries eligible to export meat and meat products to the USA.

Chief Veterinarian in the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) under the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Milton Maseke confirmed this to Nampa on Thursday.

US Ambassador to Namibia Thomas Daughton welcomed the decision, saying it represents the culmination of many years of hard work by officials of our two nations.

"This move opens an important new market to Namibian beef producers. I look forward to the day when Americans can grill Namibian beef on their backyard barbecues," he said in a media statement issued on Thursday.

In the ruling, the US Food Safety and Inspection Service concluded "that Namibia's meat inspection system is equivalent to the United States' inspection system for meat and meat products".

The decision allows Namibia to export boneless (not ground) raw beef products such as primal cuts, chuck, blade, and beef trimmings from certified establishments to the USA.

Despite objections raised by USA-based individuals and trade organisations during a comment period in late 2015, the US Food Safety and Inspection Service determined that Namibia has the appropriate procedures and measures in place to ensure standards are maintained.

In the past, the Namibian government projected the potential volume of meat exports to the USA to be as much as 860,000 kilogrammes in the first year after the ruling's enactment, increasing to as much as 5.7 million kilogrammes in five years.

Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco) Manager for Corporate Affairs Rosa Hamukuaja-Thobias said it is "exciting news".

"At this point, we are still to be informed officially by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry. We will monitor how the situation will evolve," she added.

Source: Name News Network