UK red meat exporters are in talks with South African companies to resume trade between the two countries after a 15-year ban was lifted in May 2011.
Major British beef and pork processors have joined the English Beef and Lamb Executive (Eblex) on a week-long trade mission to put UK red meat back on South African tables.
According to Eblex export manager Jean-Pierre Garnier, the delegation includes processors Vion, Tulip UK, Cranswick, ABP and Feedstock. “We are speaking to importers and retailers, and have a lot of meetings lined up in Cape Town and Johannesburg for this week.
“South Africa is a very important market for UK meat – it used to be our biggest African market. It has a fast-growing economy and population, and is interested not only in high-value cuts, but also offal,” he said.
The UK is currently behind Ireland when it comes to South African exports, but Eblex is hoping to change that by regaining market shares. Garnier added: “South Africa was our biggest market for beef before BSE, so it could potentially be big again. We have strong relationships with South African importers, so it seems like a natural market for us.”
Eblex head of trade development Peter Hardwick added that the trade mission was the opportunity for companies interested in exporting to promote their products. “We have had a lot of commercial interest since we regained access for beef and pigmeat,” he said.
The South African ban on UK meat, imposed in 1996 following a Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) outbreak, was lifted in May 2011, giving British producers the opportunity to promote their products in what used to be a major export market.