MEC Ivan Meyer on Western Cape Ostrich Industry

Yesterday, 14 March 2022, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture Dr Ivan Meyer and the South African Ostrich Business Chamber (SAOBC) hosted an event to introduce members of our diplomatic corps to the array of ostrich meat products produced in the Western Cape.

Minister Meyer highlighted that introducing foreign diplomats to uniquely Western Cape products was critical to facilitating market access and promoting our exports.

Meyer: “When I assumed office, I said that my goals are to increase agricultural exports by 5% over the next five years and enhance the agri-processing value-add in the province. Today’s event is about working towards that goal. An increase in agricultural exports is good for the economy and jobs in the Western Cape.”

“The ostrich industry contributes greatly to the local economy of the Klein Karoo as well as the province. In value terms for the 2021 period, the output of all final products (meat, feathers and leather) exported amounted to R578.8 million”, added Meyer.

Speaking on behalf of the Industry, Chairperson of SAOBC, Dr Francois de Wet, said: “The southern point of Africa domesticated and started farming with ostriches in 1864 already. To establish an ostrich industry, you must have enough ostrich farmers and be close enough to ostrich abattoirs, tanneries and ostrich feather processing plants. One must grow ostriches, then process them and market them successfully. You need to sell all the products successfully; otherwise, you will not have a sustainable ostrich industry. That is how the South African ostrich industry has survived. Today we have the most extensive ostrich operation in the world.”

Western Cape Department of Agriculture economist Vannessa Barend- Jones highlights that the ostrich industry is mainly export-driven.

“The Western Cape is open for business. Together with our representatives of the diplomatic corps, we need to get back to business. We have gotten to a stage where our COVID 19 vaccination level is at the point where the risk has diminished. So we can get back to work and focus on the economy.”

Winde continues: “The Western Cape is producing quality ostrich meat, ostrich feathers and leather products for the export market export. Our second pandemic is one of hunger, poverty, unemployment. South Africa has one of the highest youth unemployment in the world. It is about recovery now, getting back those jobs lost during the pandemic back. We, therefore, need to support agricultural businesses such as our ostrich industry.”

“We have excellent research capabilities, fantastic marketing abilities, and a superb government department that supports industries in the agricultural sector. In addition, we have partners worldwide ready to return to business. Together, we can grow this industry and make sure that more and more people eat lean, healthy meat produced by this industry. It is critical as we build healthier societies.” concludes Winde.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Government.

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