A traceability system needed for red meat exports

The demand for high-quality naturally-produced beef was on the increase globally and the implementation of a traceability system would enable local red meat producers to gain from the expanding markets, according to Prof Frikkie Neser, animal scientist at the University of the Free State.

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He told Farmer’s Weekly all role players in SA’s red meat value chain should work together to obtain a share in it.

“If we could get effective traceability structures and the supply chain in place, there is nothing to stop us exporting high end quality beef to Asia and Europe,” he said.

The increasing demand for naturally-produced beef stood to benefit SA’s indigenous cattle breeds, because these breeds’ genetic composition allowed producers to market high-quality meat from the veld, according to Neser.

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This could push up the profit margins in the production of breeds such as the Nguni and Afrikaner markedly.

The Agricultural Research Council has developed a group traceability system and should be responsible for its implementation and management and the system should include cattle, sheep, pigs and goats, said Neser.

“SA needs a uniform and sustainable traceability system with the state as its custodian,” he said.