Bleak year ahead for os­trich pro­duc­ers

Farmer's Weekly (South Africa) - - Commodity Outlook 2019 -

The South African os­trich in­dus­try was con­tin­u­ing to suf­fer the im­pact of the ban on fresh meat ex­ports to the EU, which had, for the past year, also been ex­panded to heat-treated meat. This was the re­sult of avian in­fluenza out­breaks in South Africa, as well as the coun­try not be­ing able to com­ply with strin­gent residue mon­i­tor­ing stan­dards set by the EU, ac­cord­ing to Fran­cois de Wet, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Mosstrich.

While sales in the do­mes­tic mar­ket had been grow­ing steadily over the past few years, the mar­ket was lim­ited and gen­er­ated much lower in­come than the ex­port mar­ket. “The ban on heat-treated and fresh meat had re­sulted in the con­tri­bu­tion of meat to os­trich in­come de­clin­ing from 60% to 25%,” he said.

Im­proved leather and feather prices due to re­duced sup­ply lev­els had some­what helped to re­lieve the im­pact of lower earn­ings from meat, De Wet said. How­ever, the de­mand for leather was highly cycli­cal and largely de­pen­dent on the lat­est fash­ion trends.

“Mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties are fairly lim­ited, but farm­ers could im­prove their in­come from feath­ers by us­ing an ef­fec­tive par­a­site man­age­ment pro­gramme,” he said.

Martin Gilden­huys, who farms near Hei­del­berg in the Western Cape, said the clo­sure of the mar­ket for heat-treated meat had re­sulted in the ma­jor­ity of os­trich farm­ers now op­er­at­ing in sur­vival mode. “Os­triches fit well into my pro­duc­tion sys­tem, but at cur­rent prices, pro­duc­tion does not jus­tify the risks. We need bet­ter pro­tec­tion and sup­port from gov­ern­ment to en­sure the long-term sus­tain­abil­ity of the in­dus­try.” – Glen­neis Kriel

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