Cabinet approves South Africa’s first draft game meat strategy for public comment

Cabinet has approved the 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 socio-economic growth,” said Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy.

The aim is to attract investment in this game meat sector, and to open local, regional and international market opportunities. This requires transformation of the industry to ensure future growth in this sector.

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. In addition, 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 socio-economic 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 socio-economic 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, complimenting other biodiversity economy activities, needs to be commercially and socially viable, and ecologically sustainable, and the Strategy sets out to achieve this.

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 strategy acknowledges the significant contribution that is being made by current wildlife businesses and the various associations that drive critical elements of the value chain. Key to taking the new strategy forward will be to harness their experience and expertise. New Private Sector investments will be needed, and partnerships and collaborations will be essential, and will need to be meaningful, and with buy-in from all stakeholders. The Department will continue to engage strongly with current and potential industry participants, including through the Wildlife Forum, in order to capitalise on the collective energy that went into developing the draft Game Meat Strategy, and to create the momentum for its successful implementation.

“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,” said Minister Creecy.

The draft Strategy will be published for public comment in the second quarter of the 2022/23 financial year.


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