More than Game

With some 2400 game farms in the Limpopo, a new project aims to establish a vital new industry in the province. A public private partnership aims to add a new dimension to Limpopo’s game farming industry by establishing the province’s first game meat processing facility.
It will only be the third such facility in South Africa and will focus on producing meat for export and local markets. The partnership plans to establish an abattoir and processing plant in Thabazimbi which is a major centre in the game farming industry. No fewer than 478 of Limpopo’s estimated 2400 game farms are in the Thabazimbi district.
The project is being spearheaded by Afrivet, a leading manufacturer and distributer of animal health products, with strong support from the Thabazimbi Local Municipality which is keen to diversify a local economy strongly dependent on iron ore platinum mining.
In an initiative to open new opportunities for citizens, key sectors of society have joined forces with the municipality to form a Local Economic Development forum (LED) to co-ordinate development and growth, and to attract investment in the Thabazimbi district.
The game meat procurement, processing and exporting joint venture that the processing plant will be owned by the local municipality and black empowerment and community groups, and managed by Afrivet which will also be responsible for marketing.
Dr Peter Oberem, Afrivet managing director, explains that commercial opportunities for the province’s 2400 game farmers are restricted to two main activities – hunting and sales of live game.
Game meat processing, he says, will open an exciting new market for game farmers. He believes that game meat packaged and marketed in imaginative and innovative ways will appeal to an increasingly health conscious world. Game meat has a low fat content.
Oberem wants to see game meat packaged and presented in palatable forms together with recipes, much in the same way that the ostrich farming industry is marketing a growing range of attractive and accessible products, such as burgers, sausages and fillets.
Game meat can be used to make biltong, cold meats, pâtés, sausages, casseroles, pastas, pies, meat balls, roasts, strogonoff and stews.
The only other gamemeat processing facilities in South Africa, are in the Eastern Cape and at Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape.

Source: Trade and Investment Limpopo – 2nd Edition, 2004