Seeing that there are concerns surrounding the potential impact of  the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in South African beef exports, I thought I should revisit a piece I wrote late last year – not about the disease, but beef exports.

Here it goes:

South Africa is typically a net exporter of beef (chilled and frozen) and recorded a positive trade balance of R203 million in the period between 2012 and 2016. uld revis

In terms of volumes, medium-term trends show a sharp increase in overall beef exports, from 14 634 tons in 2012 to 39 135 tons in 2016 (see Figure 1). Frozen beef exports increased from 2 921 tons in 2012 to 18 067 tons in 2016 – a 5-fold increase. Meanwhile, fresh/chilled beef exports increased from 11 714 tons to 21 068 tons over the same period.

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Figure 1: South African beef exports
Source: Trade Map and Agbiz Research

Major markets for fresh/chilled beef include regional markets (Swaziland, Mozambique and Lesotho), as well as Middle East markets (Jordan, Kuwait and UAE) (see Figure 2). Meanwhile, frozen beef markets include Far East markets (Vietnam and Hong Kong), regional markets (Mozambique, Angola, Lesotho) and the Middle East markets (Kuwait) (see Figure 3). Over this period, the most consistent importers were Kuwait, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Mauritius and Angola.

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Figure 2 and 3, SA Frozen and Chilled beef exports

Above all, Jordan, UAE, Kuwait, Mozambique, Swaziland, Namibia, Lesotho, Mauritius and Angola are important markets for the South African beef industry as they account for over 90% of its exports by value. Most importantly, as the industry recovers from the 2015-16 drought and grows, with plans of integrating new entrants in the spirit of inclusive growth and development, opening new export markets should form part of the agenda going forward.

Additional reading on the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease:

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