Increased demand for lamb in China

Demand for lamb and mutton in China has increased amidst soaring pork prices, with imports in May increasing 18% to achieve a total of 27 000t.

David Wolpert, CEO of the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE), said that South Africa was finalising the processes of exporting red meat to China.

Dirk van der Westhuizen, executive director of the South African Meat Industry Company (SAMIC), said that he did not anticipate any challenges in exporting red meat to China.

“We won’t have any problems with exporting meat to China and that [red meat] market should open up in the near future,” he said. “There are already exports to Hong Kong.”

Mark Luff, director at Excellent Meat, said that South Africa would not be a significant competitor in China’s burgeoning red meat market as it would not be able to meet the supply.

He added that South Africa was not particularly competitive in the Middle East, and that it was not a major exporter of lamb.

“We’re not as advanced as the main exporters [of red meat], like New Zealand and Australia, that are able to supply a very specific need in terms of cuts. When compared with beef exports, we’re a lot more advanced than with lamb,” he said.

According to Luff, South Africa would most likely sell whole carcasses, and while this could present opportunities for farmers, success would depend on the export price, which would be largely determined by competitors.