Knowledge for a sustainable world

Few developing countries have managed to overcome the huge cost of successfully eradicating animal borne diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease. Even if they manage to meet the stringent rules for trade in meat products laid down by the World Animal Health Organisation (the OIE), countries can find that there are no buyers for the meat products because meat importers do not accept some kinds of disease controls as credible.

At the moment, for African countries to trade in meat products they must prove that they meet the OIE standard, the so-called Terrestrial Code. Achieving this level of compliance for a whole country is very challenging. One possible solution might be to change the trade rules to allow the meat products to be assessed as safe rather than the whole country where the meat is produced. This approach, commonly called Commodity Based Trade or CBT is technically possible, but requires proof that it is both safe and viable before it can be approved by the OIE and taken up by meat exporting countries and potential buyers.

NRI has been tasked by DFID to help developing countries with the potential for meat exports to understand and overcome these barriers. NRI has been building up a network of key institutions and developing country partners who are committed to attaining the goal of allowing all countries the chance to trade in meat products. At a recent side-meeting of the OIE General Assembly in Paris CBT was discussed and key elements of the road-map to achieving its international acceptance reviewed. NRI, the OIE and partners in Southern Africa are now preparing a proof-of-concept proposal to test if CBT is possible and to advocate for the necessary changes to the world trade rules.

So maybe, in a few years time when you are buying your steaks for a summer barbecue, you will be able to choose a product that is proudly Tanzanian when you shop in a local UK supermarket.