SOUTH AFRICA –  Red Meat Industry Services (RMIS), in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) and the Red Meat Abattoir Association (RMAA), has secured formal approval from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to welcome South African red meat exports.

This achievement, the result of more than a year of strategic engagement between stakeholders, marks a significant milestone for the South African red meat sector.

Recognizing the potential for industry growth, DALRRD actively engaged RMIS to lead a unified effort to open the Saudi Arabian market to South African red meat exports.

In August 2023, premature reports about the potential opening of the KSA market led to a surge in weaner calf prices, showcasing the positive industry sentiment surrounding this development.

Clarifying the timing of the announcement, RMIS explained that the news reported in August was a preliminary announcement, indicating the government’s intent to trade.

Subsequent months witnessed collaborative efforts by DALRRD, RMAA, and RMIS, along with identified facilities, navigating challenges to secure necessary approvals and protocols.

This rigorous process distinguishes the official announcement from the initial, unverified information.

The negotiated Veterinary Health Certificate, as agreed upon by DALRRD, has now been circulated to the respective provinces.

The process of including additional facilities in this export market will be clarified with the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) as a priority once the export has commenced.

The success of this initiative is rooted in the Red Meat Strategy 2030, a collective vision established in 2019 by industry organizations, including RMIS.

Envisioning a 20% export target for the red meat industry by 2030, the strategy outlines key factors such as industry restructuring, a unified voice, public-private partnerships, compartments, and veterinary services.

“The opening of the Saudi Arabian market aligns seamlessly with RMIS’s 2030 Strategy, bringing the industry closer to reaching the ambitious export target,” Dewald Olivier, RMIS CEO said.

“Furthermore, the Saudi Arabian market shows interest in four red meat products from the South African farming community, namely beef, lamb, mutton, and goat.”

He added that the unified voice presented to the government had a profound impact on the smooth progression of the project, showcasing the industry’s adaptability to meet strategic goals

In addition, he noted that the collaborative spirit exemplified the industry’s commitment to navigating challenges and driving meaningful change.

“We appreciate the dedication of the Department in handling the challenges with this process and the opportunity for the industry to work closely with the Department in providing market access to the South African red meat industry.”

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