The meat industry is likely to develop in Asia, while leather goes to Europe. South African ostrich farmers are thinking of how to grow. The matter, and the first opinions on how to widen the market, emerged during the conference organized by SAOBC (South African Ostrich Business Chamber) on March 14th. The government has, as of now, set a 5% growth objective in terms of agricultural export value. This, for each product, means improving and widening the customer base for meat and hides.
More leather to Europe
While participating in the SAOBC conference, Western Cape’s Minster of Agriculture, Ivan Meyer, stated: “When I took over this role I said my goal was to increase agricultural exports by 5% within the next five years and increase the added value of the province’s agricultural exports”. Meyer explained that in 2021 the ostrich industry allowed the province to export goods (meat, hides and feathers) for 578.6 million Rands (about 36 million euro).
SAOBC’s president Francois de Wet, pointed out that “in Western Cape ostriches have been farmed since 1864. To create an ostrich industry, we must have enough farmers close to slaughterhouses, tanneries and plants that work feathers. One must raise the animals to then commercialize it with success. All products must be sold, otherwise the industry isn’t sustainable. That’s how the ostrich industry survived, and today we have the largest operation in the world”.
Wide export web
“Products made with ostrich feathers are mostly exported to Hong Kong, China and the UK. The main destinations for products made with ostrich leather are France, the USA and Mexico – explained the economist of Western Cape’s Ministry of Agriculture, Vanessa Barend-Jones -. Moreover, meat and other food products are sold to Hong Kong and China, while edible meat goes to the Netherlands and Mauritius. Other foods from treated meat are exported to the UK, Belgium and France”. De Wet also highlighted “the need to export more feathers”, and that “40% of all hides sold goes to France and Italian fashion brands. We must increase the quota of countries like India”.