Livestock export will drive post-Covid-19 recovery in the Eastern Cape, Al Mawashi South Africa announced at an industry update event held in East London on Monday.
At an industry update media briefing, Ms Nomakhosazana Meth, the MEC for Eastern Cape Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, said the South African economy was already in a state of stagnation prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic plunged the country’s economy into a rapid decline with significant job losses and substantial loss of revenue for the State. It further resulted in a rapid increase in the number of vulnerable households requiring government interventions,” MEC Meth said.
She added that the revival of the economy is going to require substantial investment from public and private sector in projects.
“To realise a 6% growth in the Eastern Cape will require a total investment of no less than R23 billion. To achieve this, it will be necessary to widen the tax base by formalising the informal sector, SMMEs and agriculture exports, however at the same time encouraging growth of the entrepreneurial economy,” MEC Meth said.
Al Mawashi South Africa Managing Director, Mr Ilyaas Ally: “Al Mawashi strongly supports inclusive growth and we are playing our part to ensure that the future of the live export industry is one that is representative of the South African racial demographic and free of monopoly.”
“Today, we are excited to announce our plans to further expand our programme with non-commercial farmers through provision of additional off-take agreements. These agreements enable the farmers to secure funding from banking institutions to invest back in their breeding programmes and thus produce quality, world class livestock to supply us for export,” he added.
The growing live export industry has provided access to sustainable international markets for the red meat producers.
Furthermore, cognate industries like feed and transport will become increasingly important in helping to revive the South African economy as the live export trade is anticipated to contribute an approximate investment of R3 billion into the province’s GDP over the next 5 years.
Emerging farmer, Zuko Fazzie, said he was “proud and honoured” to be part of the farmers working with Al Mawashi.
“I praise Mr Ally who has supported us [emerging farmers]. When times get tough, he gives us support when we need it the most,” Fazzie said.
“It has been a tumultuous past three months for Al Mawashi South Africa, however, with our recent court victory granting us permission to proceed to export, we look forward to covering lost ground and doing what we do best in contributing to food security in the Middle East, meanwhile developing a lucrative live export industry that will assist with economic recovery of the Eastern Cape province.
“We pride ourselves in our track record for abiding by, and exceeding, international live export standards. Animal welfare is the cornerstone of our operations and we try our best to ensure that the animals are treated in the most humane way throughout our exporting procedures,” said Ally.
Big strides have been covered in the last year since the first shipment of approximately 59 000 sheep from the East London port to the Middle East. The second shipment in March saw the export of 57 000 livestock.
This week Al Mawashi will see off its third consignment comprising around 51 000 sheep.
“Collectively, these three consignments have injected R400 million into the Eastern Cape’s agricultural economy based on direct fixed investments and trade,” said Mr Ally.
The first shipment in September 2019 saw 8% of sheep being sourced from non-commercial farmers. This figure was increased to 14% during the March 2020 shipment and has now again been increased to 22% with the September 2020 shipment.
“This province is endowed with the largest number livestock population exceeding any province in the country and as such it should assume a pivotal position in the red meat economic position as well. The growth of this sector has to be linked to crop production.
“With the large number of animals that we have as the province, our people must earn a sizeable amount of foreign exchange from the export of various livestock products,” explained the MEC.
“We look forward to continue working closely with government to realise an inclusive and sustainable industry that will not only benefit the province, but South Africa in its entirety. We believe government can assist by ensuring a conducive environment to attract and retain direct foreign investment into our shores, and in the instance of the live export trade, establishment of an updated legislative framework with clear governance protocols will prove effective in safeguarding the interests of not only the investors, but will outline clear terms of reference for all affected stakeholders in the sector,” concluded Mr Ally.