Head not buried in the sand

Finweek English Edition - - Economic trends & analysis - JO­HANN VAN ZYL

THE OS­TRICH IN­DUS­TRY in South Africa is keep­ing its fin­gers crossed that af­ter three years of bad luck it won’t ex­pe­ri­ence any set­backs this year and that it will again come into its own, both in SA and over­seas.

The Klein Ka­roo group and the in­dus­try, ac­cord­ing to chair­man Piet Kleyn, are tack­ling the year with strict health man­age­ment and a new meat en­ter­prise and prod­uct range. He says that, de­spite the set­backs last year, the group recorded R15m profit.

Kobus Goosen, ex­ec­u­tive GM of the group, says that the Euro­pean Union’s 15month ex­port ban on raw os­trich meat from SA – which was lifted on 18 Novem­ber 2005 – af­fected about 1 200 of its farm­ers and led to the loss of 4 000 jobs in the in­dus­try chain. About 90% of SA’s os­trich ex­ports go to EU coun­tries.

SA Os­trich Busi­ness Cham­ber CEO An­ton Kruger says that, in ad­di­tion, pro­duc­ers ex­pe­ri­enced two years of drought, floods on some farms and a new seven-month ban last year. “For­tu­nately, that was lifted on 1 Novem­ber. It helped that leather could still be ex­ported.” Leather ex­ports make up about 65% of the in­dus­try’s in­come.

Kruger says that SA’s con­sump­tion of os­trich meat grew by 400% over the past few years, and re­tail­ers are al­ready mak­ing about 3km of shelf space avail­able for os­trich meat. More than two-thirds of the world’s os­trich prod­ucts come from SA.

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