Cabinet has approved South Africa’s first draft Game Meat Strategy for public comment.
South Africa, renowned internationally for its abundant wildlife, provides market opportunities that could derive from the harvesting of game meat and related value-added products.
“The strategy and implementation plan are aimed at creating a formalised, thriving and transformed game meat industry in South Africa that contributes to food security and sustainable socioeconomic growth,” says Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy.
The aim is to attract investment in the game meat sector and to open local, regional and international market opportunities.
The game meat industry, currently mainly a by-product of hunting, is predominately an informal industry that operates in a fragmented manner. The game meat industry is largely untransformed, and there is a very low participation rate of previously disadvantaged individuals, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) states.
It adds that there are large areas of community-owned land that is suitable for plains game, and which provides opportunity for community-based enterprises to drive rural socioeconomic development. There are also high barriers to entry, which would need to be addressed.
"The aim of this strategy will, thus, be to create a formalised game meat industry based on achieving the economies of scale necessary for commercial ventures based primarily on game meat production, harvesting, processing, distribution and marketing. There is a need to ensure that the potential of game meat as a driver of rural socioeconomic development, founded on biodiversity-based land-use, is leveraged to create wealth, jobs, and climate-friendly and resilient meat-based food security.
"Game meat enterprises, complementing other biodiversity economy activities, need to be commercially and socially viable, and ecologically sustainable, and the strategy sets out to achieve this," the DFFE notes.
Some of the key strategic outcomes encapsulated within the strategy include shifting from an informal sector where game meat production and harvesting is secondary to hunting, to formal commercial ventures focused on game meat production and the associated full value chain, as well as a reconfigured industry model that promotes economies of scale necessary for substantial and sustainable growth of the sector.
"Commercialised harvesting and processing enterprises will add value in larger game production systems that can consistently meet increased consumer demand, and widespread and consistent marketing of game meat will increase demand, driving sustainable scaled up production and processing.
"Importantly, the strategy seeks to achieve meaningful ownership of commercial game meat based ventures by previously disadvantaged individuals, and the repurposing of some community-owned land for large-scale commercial game meat production," the DFFE states.
“The need to create new value, open up new opportunities, generate new growth and deliver new efficiencies are all key to transformation and will necessitate change along the entire game meat value chain,” says Creecy.
The draft strategy is expected to be published for public comment in the second quarter of the 2022/23 financial year.