Research explores preferences of game meat eaters

Marelize Santana -- Fri, 08/31/2018 - 09:40

Research explores preferences of game meat eaters

Earlier this year, Statistics SA stated that over six million South Africans are currently unemployed. With the country’s current economic climate resulting in shrinking opportunities for formal employment, more and more South Africans are turning to entrepreneurship.

North-West University (NWU) Tourism Research in Economic Environs and Society (TREES) director Prof Melville Saayman, TREES research assistant Ms Bianca van Rensburg, and School of Tourism deputy director Prof Elmarie Slabbert, conducted research on the game meat industry and its growth potential.

The research analysed the behaviour and preferences of game meat lovers and identified the profit behaviour and choices of people who do not eat game meat.

According to Prof Saayman, the study found that approximately R500 million worth of game meat is exported to Europe annually. The research indicated that game meat exports are very low, and that there is growth potential for fresh game meat both locally and internationally.

“There are approximately 9 000 privately owned game farms in the country, and South Africa has an excess of 20 million head of game, so there is huge potential for entrepreneurs to enter into this market,” he says.  

New regulation to increase entrepreneurship opportunities

Prof Saayman says the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is planning to announce a new regulation that will have a great impact on new and existing businesses.

The new regulation intends to exempt game animals from a portion of the provisions of section 11(1)(i) of the Meat Safety Act, which states no dead animal or animal suffering from a condition that may render the meat unsafe for human and animal consumption may be presented at an abattoir for slaughter.

In terms of section 11(1)(i), the new regulation intends to allow game animals that have been shot outside an abattoir to be presented at an abattoir for dressing. The new regulation will also ensure that game farmers adhere to the food safety regulations as the existing regulation does not.

When asked about the potential entrepreneurship opportunities, Prof Saayman says there are a lot of business ventures that will flow from this new regulation. Until now, game farmers were prohibited from opening their own abattoirs, but the new law will allow them to open their own rural game and mobile abattoirs.

The opening of more abattoirs will further allow game farm owners and the public the opportunity to contribute to the game meat export industry.

“This new regulation will also open up the market for artists, who will be able to manufacture furniture or ornaments with the by-products, such as horns, bones and skin,” Prof Saayman says.

He adds that marketers can also benefit by marketing and selling game meat. “There are approximately 85 000 restaurants and over 30 000 guesthouses and bed and breakfasts in South Africa, which further proves how lucrative the tourism industry is and can be. Over the years it has been evident that the tourism industry has had a positive impact on entrepreneurship.”