SOUTH AFRICA – Beefmaster Group, a prominent beef products provider in South Africa, has introduced South African beef to the shelves of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

The accomplishment comes after a comprehensive 15-month contract negotiation period, initiated following an agreement between South Africa and the KSA in October 2022.

Gert Blignaut, CEO of Beefmaster Group, expressed satisfaction at potentially being the first South African beef company to officially trade with Saudi Arabia in over two decades.

He noted that with the successful negotiation, South Africa aims to increase its beef exports from the current 4% to a range between 7% and 8%, presenting a substantial opportunity for the country’s agricultural sector.

Blignaut highlighted the company’s diverse product range, indicating a willingness to expand or refine offerings based on consumer preferences.

“Emphasizing the quality of the product and competitive pricing, Beefmaster Group anticipates driving demand in the Saudi market,” he said.

“We believe that the quality of our product will drive demand, and when quality and price intersect, there will be a significant opportunity to increase exports to the country.”

According to analyst reports, Saudi Arabia predominantly imports about 62% frozen beef products, with major suppliers including Brazil, Australia, Pakistan, the US, New Zealand, and Canada.

The Saudi beef industry is estimated to be valued at approximately R38 billion.

Recognizing the strategic importance of the Saudi market, Beefmaster Group viewed it as an opportunity to strengthen its global presence and align with Saudi Arabia’s economic diversification beyond oil.

Despite the recent conflict in the Middle East posing logistical challenges, especially in airfreight and shipping, Beefmaster Group remains optimistic about the growth potential in the region.

The company has also actively participated in the Gulfood Trade Show in Dubai, showcasing its products and exploring opportunities for expansion in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, despite the South African beef industry making strides in reaching new export markets, challenges remain.

The conflict in the Middle East has disrupted logistical operations, impacting both airfreight and shipping and leading to increased prices.

The CEO stressed the importance of government and industry collaboration to unlock further growth opportunities through the opening of new markets.

“Beefmaster Group’s successful entry into the Saudi market is seen as a positive step for South Africa’s beef industry,” he said.

“Beyond the immediate economic benefits, the company believes that establishing a strong presence in Saudi Arabia will contribute to the long-term growth and sustainability of the South African agricultural sector.”

 

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