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The Farming of Animals in South Africa
Livestock farming is the largest agricultural sector with a population of 13.399 million cattle and 23.287 million sheep as at August 2016. These numbers are significantly down from the 2015 figures due to the poor 2014/2015 rainfall season and the drought-induced losses of 2016. According to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), 2015 revenue from animal products, excluding fowls slaughtered and eggs, amounted to R63.178bn, an increase of over 15% on the 2014 figure of R54.667bn. The game industry contributed more than R20bn to GDP with hunting accounting for R7.3bn and the breeding and sales of game animals approximately R5bn.
Challenges and Opportunities
The 2015/2016 season will be remembered for the worst drought faced in over 100 years with calamitous results for many industry players and the significant loss of livestock. The respective national herds and flocks will take a long time to recover, and in the meantime increased consumer demand and high feed costs have led to increased prices for consumers. The Regulation of Agricultural Land Holdings Bill which was published for public comment in March 2017 is expected to cause further tension in the racially polarised sector. The Bill aims to reverse the legacy of colonialism and apartheid and ensure a just and equitable distribution of agricultural land to Africans, to extinguish foreign ownership of agricultural land and change foreign ownership rights to leasing rights. On a positive note, South Africa remains a World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) country with a zone free of Foot and Mouth Disease without vaccination and exports meat products to the Indian Ocean Islands and African countries. The price of animal feed has decreased as a result of a near record maize crop estimated at 87% larger than the 2016 crop and the domestic industry is expected to grow as population growth and the expansion of developing economies boost global demand for meat.
The Farming of Animals in South Africa describes current conditions, Enterprise Development and Social Economic Development initiatives as well as legislative developments. Factors that influence the success of the sector are also included in this informative report.