Emerging livestock farmers can now be part of a cohort of supplying Woolworths with free range meat thanks to the High Value Beef Partnerships (High VBP) project.
Launched in 2013, the aim of the project was to first develop a proof of concept that smallholder beef farmers can be supported to meet beef specifications of retailers.
“Retailers were then approached and they gave different specifications on their beef requirements. The project had interest in specifications that promised better price when met and settled on supporting farmers to meet Free Range Beef as branded by Woolworths South Africa” said project leader Dr Baldwin Nengovhela.
Spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), Agricultural Research Council (ARC), the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the challenge was how to get smallholder beef farmers to understand what is in the specifications, adopt it and alter practice to meet these specifications.
Dr Nengovhela continued to say that the solution was to develop a training guide that incorporated all aspects of delivering beef to the retailer and then use it to recruit and train farmers so that their animals can comply.
“A learner guide was then developed titled ‘Demonstrate an Understanding of the Free-Range Beef Production Environment’. The language used followed the agriculture sector education wording of AgriSETA which was considered critical to help out scale the manual use” he added.
The learner guide is aligned with a level 3 standard unit number 116647, which replaced feedlot practices with Free Range practices. Also, the manual is reviewed annually and is very specific to the two value chains supporting Woolworth with their Free-Range beef.
“The manual is available for public use and service providers can seek accreditation to be able to present it in support of the sector that want to support small or commercial farmers to meet this market specifications”
ARC Animal Production
Private Bag X2, Irene, 0062
Tel: 012 672 9320
Dr Baldwin Nkhanedzeni Nengovhela
Scientific Manager & High VBP Project Leader
Cell: 082 855 9476
Stephen Majara Monamodi
High VBP Communications
Cell: 076 865 4937
The manual can be can be downloaded on the project website www.highvbp.co.za, which imparts farmers with knowledge that gives them a direct link with a very lucrative beef market in South Africa.