Red meat industry must control its own future

The red meat industry cannot leave its destiny to outside role players. This was according to geneticist and managing director of Agricultural Business SA, Dr Michael Bradfield.

Red meat industry must control its own future
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Speaking at the recent Red Meat Workshop held in Pretoria, Bradfield said that the red meat industry had to align its future in accordance with the National Development Plan.

“The industry needs to take ownership and stop looking [towards] government to fund its initiatives, and fund itself [as] happens elsewhere in the world,” Bradfield said.

Bradfield added that red meat had to stop being perceived as a commodity, and had to enter the export and premium markets.

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As a result of drought, foreign market opportunities had opened up for South African producers as affected countries had to import meat. However, while this meant that local producers could market their products as premium abroad, there was a lot of ‘bullying’ on international level, according to Bradfield.

“To enter these markets, South African producers, abattoirs and exporters would have to be able to answer questions on local animal health and traceability,” Bradfield said.

Bradfield also said that the industry needed to spend more money on research and development, like other big meat exporting countries.

Minister of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana, told the congress that transformation needed to be the agenda of South Africa and its agriculture industry.

Zokwana said that while the success of agriculture as part of the GDP was a result of commercial agriculture, everyone needed to ask where small scale farmers fit into the picture.

Gerhard Uys grew up as a real city lad, but spends his free time hiking and visiting family farms. He learnt the journalism trade as a freelance writer and photographer in the lifestyle industry, but having decided that he will be a cattle farmer by the age of 45 he now indulges his passion for farming by writing about agriculture. He feels Farmer’s Weekly is a platform for both developed and emerging farmers to learn additional farming skills and therefore takes the job of relaying practical information seriously.