De Aar farmer receives award

2016-11-09 06:01
Craig Ferreira (left) receives the award for the highest mutton producer in the Northern Cape. With him is Louis Clark (managing director of Valley Irrigation).

Craig Ferreira (left) receives the award for the highest mutton producer in the Northern Cape. With him is Louis Clark (managing director of Valley Irrigation).

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The fact that the past three years have been challenging and trying times for farmers, did not hamper Craig Ferreira’s chances of scooping the award for the highest mutton producer in the Northern Cape.

Surprised by the announcement that he was the winner, Ferreira shared how the market has been challenging for the past three years.

Ferreira received the good news during the GWK awards ceremony near Douglas on Saturday, 22 October.

The challenges, according to him, was all due to the drought conditions affecting farmers countrywide.

Ferreira was amongst the GWK icons awarded for the various roles they play in food production, innovation and economic growth in the sector.

The annual awards honoured the farmers, industry stakeholders, staff and partners of GWK for their efforts and contribution.

Ferreira has been operating from the Potfontein Farm Trust near De Aar for 12 years.

He said that his business has been subject to the vagaries of supply and demand.

He buys and supplies lamb to the GWK abbatoir in De Aar after feeding and getting them ready for the market.

GWK has recently released a statement that highlights the fragmented lamb and mutton supply chain, which resulted in several challenges for the sheep farming industry, including instability in prices.

The lack of trust amongst the role players is reported to have been the cause of them operating in isolation, leading to a lack of understanding about how the link in the value chain affects the industry.

A Red Meat Producers conference was also hosted in Parys in August, where Alex Cilliers, executive manager of meat at GWK, addressed delegates on the state of the lamb and mutton industry in South Africa.

According to Cilliers, the popularity of lamb and mutton has declined from 16% of the consumers’ average meat basket three years ago to just 13%, as shoppers chose other products that offer greater consistency in price and supply.

As a result, meat supply through the value chain had become inconsistent and consumers with limited budgets had been faced with fluctuating prices, inconsistent quality and erratic supply.

The devastating drop in the sale of these products will continue unless, according to GWK, the supply chain corrects itself to offer good quality meat at consistent prices.

Cilliers, however, urged red meat produ-cers not to blame the drought nor the consumers, but rather to look at the old-fashioned practices of traders instead.

“The proliferation of abattoirs and wholesalers across the South African landscape has meant that the conventional way of shopping around between abattoirs to obtain the best price for stock on any particular day impacts the whole supply chain negatively,” he said.

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