Zim fails to meet beef export standards


Zimbabwe has failed to meet basic standards stipulated before being allowed to resume beef exports to the European Union (EU), head of the blocks Delegation to Zimbabwe Ambassador Aldo DellAriccia has said.

Zimbabwes beef exports to the bloc were suspended in August 2001 after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth-disease (FMD), a move that dealt a huge financial blow to the then Cold Storage Commission (now Cold Storage Company CSC).

CSC had an annual quota to the EU of 9 100 tonnes of beef. It also had $15 million revolving payment facilityA with EU under which it was paid in advance.

The company used to earn the country at least $45 million per year. In an emailed response to NewsDay questions, DellAriccia said after a lengthy absence, it would be necessary to carry out a survey in order to establish the potential of the EU market for Zimbabwes beef.

He said Zimbabwe should be in a position to provide supply in quality and quantity projections.
Currently, the export of beef from Zimbabwe to the EU is still not authorised, he said.

Apart from the FMD initial banning, Zimbabwe cannot be eligible for bovine meat exports to the EU due to other internal regulations of the EU market.

The first regulation which does not permit the import of Zimbabwean beef products to the EU is the one on substances and residues in animal products (for instance residues from veterinary drugs) that can constitute a hazard for human consumption (Regulation 206/2010).

He explained that when the ban was imposed, the situation of the agricultural sector in the country was not in line with EU standards, especially the system of identification, registration and labelling of bovine animals.

This situation was further worsened by the lack of control of animals movement, he said.

Previously Zimbabwe had established red zones (from where exports to the EU were not allowed) and green zones (from where beef exports to the EU were allowed); the areas were properly fenced and animals were separated and not getting into contact with buffalos, other wild animals, infected animals or other potentially contaminating factors.

DellAriccia said the system was disrupted for reasons linked to the internal political and economic situation in the country and the control of the animals movements was no longer possible.

Another regulation that hampers the trade of bovine meat between Zimbabwe and the EU is veterinary certification, which has to be issued by a recognised competent authority that ensures credible inspections and controls throughout the production chain.

He said the severe economic crisis that affected Zimbabwe in recent years has had an impact on the capacity of the country to respond to these export requirements.