ECDC explores markets for benefit of EC
The recent controversial livestock deal between Eastern Cape and Kuwait had an initial export order of R500 million, for both chilled and live animals. The Eastern Cape Development Corporation, in an effort to stimulate the economy of the Province, embarked on a mission to enhance trading opportunities in the agro-processing international markets such as the recent export of livestock and sheep carcasses to Kuwait.
Over the years, there has been an increase in demand for beef exports from South Africa to Kuwait, with no merchandise from the Eastern Cape to Kuwait recorded in the past ten years. By means of realising this market, Thabo Shenxane, ECDC Head for Trade and Investment Promotion (TII) says, “ECDC led an Outward Mission to Kuwait in January 2018 and through thorough market research, Al Mawashi identified the Eastern Cape Province as a suitable destination for trading livestock and sheep carcasses”.
Research by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries proved that the Eastern Cape hosts the highest number of livestock in South Africa with a majority of sheep concentrated in the province at approximately 30% followed by Northern Cape Province at 24.4%.
“In facilitating this trade deal for the Eastern Cape, the ECDC assisted Al Mawashi by coordinating meetings with stakeholders, provincial and national governments, business and commercial farmers and abattoirs including feedlot owners, state vets and animal scientist,” said Shenxane.
To date, Al Mawashi has spent R38.7 million on exporting chilled meat to the Middle East; R89 million purchasing livestock for the Middle East market and also spent R32 million on fodder. This is in addition to a R10.5 million invested in constructing a feedlot in Berlin with skills training and transfer, employing 58 people.
Export consignments of carcasses between the Eastern Cape and the Middle East started in January 2019 and by June 2019, about R22.9million had been invested through the export of 11 315 carcasses.
In September 2019, the Al Mawashi vessel Al Shuwaikh collected a consignment of 61 000 sheep from the Port of East London.
ECDC Chief Executive, Ndzondelelo Dlulane said agro-processing is one of the strategic sectors identified to drive the economy of the province. “Over the years, the sector has shown significant contribution to South Africa and the Eastern Cape province in terms of growth, transforming primary agricultural products, creating an effective value chain, and in creating employment. This then becomes a significant opportunity for ECDC to leverage on for the benefit of the Province and its people,” said Dlulane.
The National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) Animal rights activists tried to stop the shipment of the sheep Kuwait, claiming that the sheep will suffer on the voyage but failed after the Department of Agriculture intervened.