Gulfood Trade Show 2019 re-opens South African beef export market

March 2019: The Beefmaster Group of Companies, a leading specialist producer of quality beef products and one of the largest privately-owned meat production companies in South Africa, is once again exporting its quality beef products to select countries in the Middle East. This is thanks to the excellent progress made by government and other industry players at the recently held Gulfood Trade Show 2019 to re-open the beef trade between the two nations. 

This is the sentiment of Roelie van Reenen, supply chain executive at Beefmaster. The company exhibited at the event for the fifth year, which was held in Dubai between 17 and 21 February 2019. 

Van Reenen says that the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) experienced earlier this year threatened South Africa’s FMD-free status, resulting in several countries closing their borders to SA-meat products. Select Middle Eastern countries have now opened trade to South Africa owing to government reinstating veterinary certificates for beef with these countries. 

“These countries have been reassured that FMD is under control in South Africa, thanks to the swift response by government and industry players to get the disease under control,” says van Reenen. 

Furthermore, progress made at the Gulfood Trade Show included strengthened relations between the Beefmaster Group of Companies and Middle Eastern territories, such as Qatar, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Dubai, and north African countries such as Egypt.

“The Gulfood Trade show enabled us to nurture our existing relationships in the Middle East, resulting in us being able to once again export more than 300 tonnes of red meat to these countries.”

Van Reenen says that this is good news for local beef producers as the re-established beef trade will maintain local beef prices.  However, while good progress has been made, more needs to be done to ensure that the trade volumes from beef exports increase to the volumes seen before the FMD outbreak.  

He adds that the agricultural community has been hard hit by a high maize price, a debilitating drought and a stagnant economy. This has resulted in low weaner purchase prices, as well as downward beef prices, exerting added pressure on cattle farmers and the beef industry as a whole. 


“The current economic climate in SA has consumers under pressure, which means the market is unable to absorb the excess beef in production. However, the progress made at the Gulfood Trade Show will go a long way in mitigating these pressures, as it will allow for the excess volumes of red meat, currently in SA, to be absorbed by foreign markets,” says van Reenen. 

South Africa is one of the five largest producers of Halaal-certified meat worldwide, with the country’s export industry experiencing rapid growth since 2001. Overall beef exports increased from 8 292 tons in 2001 to 31 888 tons in 2017 with the UAE, Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar being the top Middle Eastern destinations for beef exports. Additionally, the Middle East has a rapidly growing population which opens opportunities for South African beef exports. This in turn stimulates the local economy. 

Van Reenen says that driving the interest from the Middle East in South Africa’s red meat products is quality assurance of its Halaal-certification. 

“Our cattle are slaughtered at a relatively young age of approximately 12-15 months. This makes the meat more tender, softer and leaner in fat content, which is favoured by Middle East nations,” says van Reenen. 

South Africa competes with Brazil and Australia for the export of red meat.  

The Gulfood Trade Show places emphasis on Halaal-certified food products in the Middle East, attracting approximately 90 000 visitors per annum. 


About the Beefmaster Group of Companies

The Beefmaster Group of Companies is a leading specialist producer of quality beef products to South Africa, the Middle- and Far East, and beyond. We believe that all cattle breeds have the potential to deliver exceptional beef products. We forge strong relationships with both established and emerging farmers to access a variety of cattle, regardless of breed, helping farmers boost the quality and sustainability of their herds by offering training, mentorship programmes and offtake agreements, amongst others. 

Our state-of-the-art technology and world-class facilities allow us to customise and “produce to order” for some of the biggest players in the food industry. Our exceptional team of highly-trained staff, operating in line with the highest possible safety standards, enables us to be a trusted supplier and partner. We commit resources to not only our staff but also local communities, with a view to sustainably and positively impact the environment in which we do business.

With a successful track record spanning more than three decades, Beefmaster is still the partner to trust for all things beef.