South Africa’s beef exports are set to increase following the Saudi Food and Drug Authority’s (SAFDA’s) decision to lift of the ban on meat and red products from South Africa.
In June, SAFDA inspected South African abattoirs and feedlots for compliance with market access protocols and Halaal certification in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Trade and Industry Ministers Ebrahim Patel said the latest development is positive for South Africa because of the large Halaal meat market globally.
“South Africa already has a strong presence in markets like the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia. The Saudi market is valued at over $5 billion,” he said.
Karan Beef director Matthew Karan said the SAFDA approval had ignited a sense of optimism among the country’s beef producers, fuelling their belief in the industry’s promising growth prospects.
“Though still strong, the local market for beef products is becoming saturated. However, there is a lot of opportunity internationally,” Karan said.
“The industry is a big employer, but it could be bigger. We want to accelerate the growth to create more jobs and stimulate the economy through the export market.”
He added that opening new export markets will result in growth opportunities for local future commercial cattle farmers.
Wandile Sihlobo, the chief economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz), welcomed the news.
He said South African beef producers have had a tough time because of the foot-and-mouth disease this past year, higher feed costs, and softer domestic demand.
“Any export market that reopens its doors for our high-quality beef is always appreciated,” Sihlobo said.
The chart below, courtesy of Sihlobo, shows South Africa’s beef exports over the last two decades.