SA red meat sector still competitive

South Africa’s red meat sector is performing well in a tough local economic environment.

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However, producers should continue working towards becoming even more efficient and competitive. This was according to Gerhard Schutte, CEO of the National Red Meat Producers’ Organisation (RPO).

“We can be optimistic in our industry. Studies show that we are highly competitive,” he told the recent Limpopo RPO annual congress in Mokopane.

Schutte called on producers to adopt the latest technology and intensive livestock production systems to increase productivity.

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Statistics from the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy indicated that the demand for beef and sheep meat will grow by 25% and 20% respectively to the year 2020, noted Schutte. With the EU a stagnating market, the sector should direct exports to the rest of Africa and markets in the East, he said.

One of the sector’s biggest challenges was to help producers in the emerging sector to farm commercially, said Schutte.

According to the RPO, 40% of livestock in SA is owned by emerging farmers and 613 000 households own livestock. “These farmers should also be successful,” said Schutte.

He added that farmers have to pay more attention to natural resource management, particularly in Limpopo where invader plant species are widespread. Up to 90% of production potential in terms of grass availability for livestock is reduced by invader species.