Deputy Chairperson of the Red Meat Producers Organisation, Dr Pieter Prinsloo, was in Bloemfontein this week to participate in the organisation’s Free State management meeting.
He says he was fascinated by how much time was spent discussing ways to add value to the raw product.
“Farmers are in distress. Even though we are doing better – and I think farmers need that – the thing is that input costs have just escalated year-by-year. Our weaner prices stood still for a number of years.
“We had a hike of about 30-35% now, which we are very thankful for – but we need to keep it there sustainably.
“So, what was discussed today was ways and means of how farmers could perhaps group together to negotiate on behalf of a district or a group.”
He says something else that is becoming increasingly important is telling the story of where your meat comes from.
“I believe that every region has got a specific trait. In the wine industry they talk about a terroir and we don’t address that in the meat industry.
“We have started in our own area – we have eight producers that have grouped together. We are selling grass-fed beef, B and C Class animals, and we are selling the story.”
He says an added benefit of the story-based approach is that this ties into traceability requirements that will have to be put in place to cater to consumer demands, as well as open better export markets.