Beef farming has the potential to provide much needed jobs in South Africa, says the Trade and Industry Department.
Addressing farmers on Monday at the Uthukela Beef Value Chain workshop in Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal, Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina said the red meat value chain has a potential to unlock employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.
The purpose of the workshop was to assist emerging farmers to grow and participate in the entire value chain of beef industry, which includes feedlots, abattoir, meat processing, as well as import and export.
“There is a huge market and job opportunities in the beef value chain that if it they are ignored they might slip through our fingers,” said Gina.
“We need to coordinate all resources that can uplift the emerging farmers and also identify markets for those who are ready to export to all countries that import red meat from South Africa.”
The deputy minister said she hopes for an ongoing national dialogue on innovation and exchange of new technologies for meat processing.
“We are all aware that the demand for beef products will be more than double in the next 20 years due to the increase in urbanisation, economic growth and changes in consumption patterns in both the developed and developing countries,” she noted.
She added: “This means that beef producers need to gear themselves up for the opportunities by increasing investment both in production and processing activities.”
Farmers who participated in the workshop were in agreement that they needed intervention from government even if it came in an advisory role from research that they have no access to.
Issues of drought support, incentives and access to market were also discussed.
Gina urged relevant government departments to address challenges identified during the workshop. She said they must come together and plan a way forward to unlock opportunities and deal with the hurdles faced by emerging beef farmers. -ANA