Mthatha – The Eastern Cape government intends to ensure that black farmers in red meat production become part of the country’s mainstream economy.
“The intention is to create profit and to make sure that butchery managers throughout the province are supplied by black farmers from rural areas,” rural development MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane said on Friday.
This would involve reducing the amount of meat bought from other provinces. Currently the majority of the province’s hotels, shops, public institutions, caterers, restaurants, and butcheries purchase their meat from livestock farmers and abattoirs in the Western Cape, Free State, and KwaZulu-Natal.
He said it was difficult to say when this reduction would come into effect as the province's farmers first had to produce more.
The decision to commercialise the province’s livestock programme was taken because these farmers collectively owned nearly 3 million head of cattle, which he said was the largest in the country.
Qoboshiyane met provincial leaders of the African Farmers’ Association and National Emergent Red Meat Producers’ Organisation in Mthatha on Friday. They discussed how to help black farmers benefit from commercial livestock trading.
Problems still to be overcome included lack of pastures, infrastructure, and veld fires.
“Remember, we are farming in communal spaces where there’s no adequate grazing land,” he said.
His department and the national department were already negotiating with various countries in the world for local farmers to sell their meat to them.