Audio: Expanding U.S. Beef Exports to Sub-Saharan Africa

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U.S. beef exports to Sub-Saharan Africa set a new record in 2020, reaching nearly 27,000 metric tons valued at $23.4 million. Most of these shipments were beef variety meat, including items such as beef livers, kidneys and hearts.

Matt Copeland, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) representative in the region, explains that while South Africa is now the second largest export destination (behind Egypt) for U.S. beef livers, other key markets include Angola, Gabon, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Guinea and Mozambique. The environment is favorable for further growth in this category, as variety meat supplies from other beef exporting countries are tightening.

Copeland, who is based in Durban, South Africa, says that to help expand demand for U.S. beef beyond variety meat, USMEF is promoting ungraded beef cuts to key buyers in the region. Although derived from older U.S. cattle, the tenderness, flavor and quality of these cuts offer African customers a very appealing product at an affordable price.

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The U.S. Meat Export Federation ( is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry. It is funded by USDA; the beef, pork, lamb, corn and soybean checkoff programs, as well as its members representing nine industry sectors: beef/veal producing & feeding, pork producing & feeding, lamb producing & feeding, packing & processing, purveying & trading, oilseeds producing, feedgrains producing, farm organizations and supply & service organizations. USMEF complies with all equal opportunity, non-discrimination and affirmative action measures applicable to it by contract, government rule or regulation or as otherwise provided by law. USMEF is an equal opportunity employer and provider.