The red meat value chain has potential to unlock employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, says Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina.
Gina was addressing farmers at the Uthukela Beef Value Chain workshop in Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal, on Monday.
“There is a huge market and job opportunities in the beef value chain that if ignored, could slip through our fingers. We need to coordinate all resources that can uplift emerging farmers and also identify markets for those who are ready to export to all countries that import red meat from South Africa,” said Gina.
The purpose of the workshop was to assist emerging farmers to grow and participate in the entire value chain of the beef industry. This includes feedlots, abattoir, meat processing, as well as import and export.
Gina also said she hoped there would be 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.
“This means that beef producers need to gear themselves up for the opportunities by increasing investment both in production and processing activities,” she said.
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 all government departments that were identified as key in addressing the challenges that were identified during the workshop to come together and plan a way forward to unlock opportunities and dealt with the hurdles faced by the beef emerging farmers. – SAnews.gov.za