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MATSAPHA – The country’s 500 tonnes beef export quota to Norway, currently under suspension, could be lost for good.

This is if government does not act fast in providing samples of the buffaloes received from Zambia for further tests by the European Union to determine whether the mammals are free from Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).  This warning has been sent by the Board of KLF, whose lobby efforts led to the successful granting of a beef export quota to Norway in 2009 for a total of 500 tonnes per year. 

KLF Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bjørn-Ole Juul Hansen strongly advised that the kingdom’s government needs to urgently provide test results and samples conducted on the buffaloes to determine whether they were now Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) free.
Hansen explained that upon receipt of the samples, the European Union (EU) would conduct their own tests and make recommendations to Norway on whether beef from Swaziland could be imported once again.

Soon after correspondence from EU experts gets received by Norway, KLF will be better positioned to resuscitate lobby efforts for the kingdom to regain the beef market which attracted up to E50 million per annum.

“We have been patiently waiting for the ministry to submit tests to re-engage in negotiations to revive imports of beef into Norway,” said Hansen during an interview conducted at Summerfield Botanical Garden last Friday.

Board Chairman Ståle Gausen disclosed that they convened a meeting with Minister of Agriculture Moses Vilakati last Thursday where a pledge was made to the effect that tests would have been conducted and ready for submission to the EU by the end of this week.

Gausen emphasised the importance of the kingdom adhering to stipulated timelines in order to ease negotiation processes of getting back the beef market which remains key to bolster beef trade with Norway.

“We have a limited time to maintain the Norway beef market quota especially because we need to give precise answers to the customers who purchase the meat,” Gausen explained.

He said there were already countries that had shown interest to be suppliers of beef, a factor which is the main reason why the kingdom should not rest on its laurels in the quest to ensure that the ban imposed by the EU gets lifted soonest.

Vilakati confirmed the meeting with the KLF Board of Directors. He also responded to the affirmative when asked whether he had made a promise to have completed the tests and samples that ought to be sent to the EU by the end of the week.

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