Cabinet has approved the country’s first draft Game Meat Strategy for public comment. It aims to formalise the game meat sector and open doors for informal game meat traders and previously disadvantaged communities. According to Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy the strategy will create a formalised game meat industry based on achieving the economies of scale that are necessary for commercial ventures based primarily on game meat production, harvesting and marketing.
This will ensure that the potential of this sector as a driver of rural socio-economic development is leveraged in order to create wealth, jobs and resilient meat-based food security. The draft strategy is expected to be published for public comment in the second quarter of the 2022/23 financial year, Creecy revealed. Creecy also noted that the game industry was largely untransformed, and there was a very low participation rate of previously disadvantaged individuals.
“The game meat industry, currently mainly a by-product of hunting, is predominantly an informal industry that operates in a fragmented manner,” she explained. “In addition, there are large areas of community-owned land that are suitable for plains game (species), and which provide the opportunity for community-based enterprises to drive rural socio-economic development. “There are also high barriers of entry, which need to be addressed.”
Creecy said that commercialised harvesting and processing enterprises would add value to larger game production systems that could consistently meet increased consumer demand. Also, widespread and consistent marketing of game meat would increase demand, driving sustainable scaled-up production and processing. The strategy sought to ensure that previously disadvantaged individuals were given the opportunity to achieve meaningful ownership of commercial game meat, as well as the repurposing of some community-owned land for large-scale commercial game meat production.
Creecy said that new private sector investments would be needed, and partnerships and collaborations were key to achieving the goals of the strategy. “The aim is to attract investment in this game meat sector, and to open local, regional and international market opportunities,” the minister said. “This requires the transformation of the industry to ensure future growth in this sector.”
Creecy said that the key outcomes outlined in the strategy included shifting from an informal sector where game meat production and harvesting were secondary to hunting, to formal commercial ventures focused on game meat production and the associated full value chain. “The strategy acknowledges the significant contribution that is being made by current wildlife businesses and the various associations that drive critical elements of the value chain,” the minister said.
“The department will continue to engage strongly with current and potential industry participants, including through the Wildlife Forum, in order to capitalise on the collective energy that went into developing the draft Game Meat Strategy and to create the momentum for its successful implementation.”