African Press Association
Vusi Rozani, Eastern Cape Veterinarian (Left), and Nomakhosazana Meth, the provincial MEC of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, at the Mawashi feedlot ahead of the export of sheep to the Middle East

SA finds Middle East a prosperous market for mutton

from DION HENRICK in Cape Town, South Africa
CAPE TOWN – SOUTH Africa has unearthed a lucrative export market following the significant demand for mutton in the Middle East.

This comes as a major boost to Africa’s most advanced albeit struggling economy beset by a myriad of problems, most recently the coronavirus disease plaguing economies globally.

South Africa is to carry out the second live export of 63 000 sheep from the Eastern Cape Province to the Middle East, with the vessel (Al Messilah) to ship the animals expected before the end of the week.

Nomakhosazana Meth, the Eastern Cape Member of the Executive Council (MEC): Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, led a tour attended by animal welfare groups and veterinarians to the Al Mawashi feedlot outside Berlin, ahead of the arrival of the vessel.

She said the province had identified the export market as an opportunity, and, the Al Mawashi development was central.

“The Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) has done excellently in bringing this deal to our shores,” Meth said.

ECDC is mandated for investment and trade promotion.

“We embrace this trade opportunity with both hands and commit to ensuring that it is sustained for the province and the Middle East at large,” Meth said.

She stated the participation of the established commercial and developing farmers augured well with the inclusive economic development agenda of the provincial government.

“The Red Meat Industry value chain remains a priority. We see opportunities in the feed production, livestock transport, market responsive animal production and breeding programmes,” Meth added.

The Kuwait-based Al Mawashi, which is among the best meat supplier companies globally, aims to build a business that will turn-over R1,5 billion per annum in the Southern African country.

“We believe that we can contribute in a positive way to the economy of the Eastern Cape and South Africa,” Ilyaas Ally, Managing Director for Al Mawashi in South Africa, said.

The company was celebrating its first year of operations and trading in South Africa. The upcoming shipment will be the second from the country.

“We must guard against the encroachment of narratives that do not fully understand or appreciate the potential of the live export industry as a catalytic driver for socio-economic development and a more inclusive agricultural economy in the Eastern Cape,” Ally said.

This sentiment follows some criticism by some animal rights groups against the transporting of sheep in vessels.

Ally said Al Mawashi adhered to and exceeded all the standards and regulations for animal welfare and protection established by the World Organisation for Animal Health.

“The export of animals across the ocean on livestock carriers is in no way unlawful or illegal. The shipping of livestock is done in a very, very humane way,” he added.

In the last shipment recently, during which Al Mawashi transported sheep from the Port of East London, the company reported exceeding all animal welfare and protection standards enshrined.

According to executives, the company achieved a 0,7 percent mortality rate. The international standard and benchmark are between 1 percent and 2 percent.

– CAJ News