Head not buried in the sand
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.