EU ban on SA game meat ‘a crisis’
PRETORIA (SA) – The SA Department of Agriculture was taken “completely unawares” by the European Union’s move to delete the country from its list of approved sources of game meat, according to director: agricultural information services Steve Galane.
The chairman of the Game, Abattoirs & Meat Exporters Association of SA (GAME SA), Piet Neethling, said the ban was a “crisis” for the industry, which exports about R45m worth of meat a year, mostly to the EU. In a release on June 4, the department said: “It was with dismay that we recently learnt from the official journal of the European Union (EU), that South Africa has been deleted with regards to export of game meat products. The journal lists the names of countries exporting to the EU. “The Department of Agriculture would like to assure industry that since the letter of the 22nd January 2008 where the EU requested information from South Africa, the Department has been in constant communication with authorities in the EU. We are now communicating with them to resolve the matter. Bearing in mind concerns from stakeholders, the department undertakes to communicate with industry as soon as the matter has been resolved.” Galane said the department had not received a prior enquiry from the EU, and thus had not responded to it. He said the department believed the issue could be resolved quickly. But Neethling said: “In my experience with the EU, which is very bureaucratic, I have never seen any decision made in less than three months.” He said the industry was in the middle of its culling season, and would have shot about half of its annual take of most species, except kudu. “The industry doesn’t know exactly what the problem is, so we can’t just shoot and freeze in the hope of a quick solution. “If the issue is resolved in three months, we can hope to pick up business at the tail end of the culling season. In the meantime, there are 350 permanent workers and 180 contract workers in game meat abattoirs. Their jobs are at risk.” The move will also affect SA’s burgeoning game skin leather industry. There are four registered game meat exporters, all part of GAME SA – Mosstrich, Camexo, Swartland and Marque, and about 500 registered farmers. Annually they shoot and process about 2,500 Kudu, 8,000 Blesbuck, 3,000 Impala and 60,000 Springbuck. Neethling said the kudu were mostly culled late in the season, but the other species were shot over the full six-month season. – [Department of Agriculture:
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