Drought will force meat prices up say producers

DRY SEASON: Limpopo farmers say the government should step in to help those farmers who h ave
experienced livestock deaths due to the prolonged drought.Pic: Chester Makana. © Sowetan.
DRY SEASON: Limpopo farmers say the government should step in to help those farmers who h ave experienced livestock deaths due to the prolonged drought.Pic: Chester Makana. © Sowetan.

THE National Red Meat Producers Organisation is gravely concerned about the heavy drought that has hit most parts of Limpopo in recent months.

It said the drought would also hit the consumer sector hard - forcing red meat prices to escalate.

Their warning comes after more than 300 livestock have died after a severe lack of rainfall.

The organisation said yesterday an expected increase in the demand for red meat, especially over the festive season, would be virtually impossible to meet.

Several farmers said the rain had come later than expected as the first rains were experienced only in November - two months after the expected rainfall period - making it difficult for their livestock to survive.

"We are expecting to have a drop in the production of red meat and that means the demand will remain high," said the organisation's spokesperson Madambi Muvhulawa.

He said they were still collecting data to determine the amount of stock they had lost.

Muvhulawa also added that they were aware that the demand for red meat would increase during the 2010 Fifa World Cup next year.

"We are going to import meat from neighbouring countries to ensure we are equal to the task."

He said they were also expecting more livestock deaths as some cattle had already been affected by "drought-related sicknesses".

Agricultural expert Ndiafhi Kwinda of Kwinda Agriculture Business said apart from the drought, the problem of overgrazing was being brought about by lack of sustainable farming methods.

Muvhulawa told Sowetan that the producers wanted the government to come forward and compensate communal farmers who had recently lost their sole source of income due to the prolonged drought.

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