Lately the “other” oldest profession and furthest away from technology had to content with phrases in only weeks like “a perfect storm” when sheep and cattle farmer producer prices imploded, the “black swan event” with the disaster in Australia where 300 000 cattle died due to unseen floods, and now “the butterfly effect” where farmers realize they are not isolated even if they farm somewhere in a corner of Africa. Small events in other countries can have a massive unintended influence on our economic survival.

 

The implosion of producer prices has seen quick thinking by industry leaders who started the red meat initiative under Red Meat SA on social media. These farmers decided to turn a disaster into an opportunity, made a call to action on social media platforms and launched the “Braai vir die boere” and “A braai every day keeps the farmer OK” with huge success.

 

Radio stations got involved and saw Riaan van Heerden from Jacaranda FM heading up a massive drive on lamb chop prices in Limpopo and Gauteng.

 

Petrus van Heerden, director of Beeswinkel, said that we won the hearts and minds of everybody – from the producer to the consumer. “We need to keep this momentum going and will launch ‘Operation Market Share’ this week.

 

“At first we thought to call it ‘Project Market Share’ but realized we need a total onslaught on the value chain. We need to keep momentum, keep the initiative, the element of surprise, keep focusing on our goals, get better organized – we need to employ the art of war because bigger challenges lie ahead,” Van Heerden said.

 

The purpose of this ‘operation’ is to ensure, maintain and grow market share for cattle and sheep farmers.

 

Buy in bulk

“We call on the consumer to realize that buying meat in bulk, like a whole or half lamb or a beef hind quarter, offers the best value. You will either spent less on meat while buying enough or you will buy more to enjoy for the same amount spent.

 

“We realize that not everybody can buy in bulk and call upon people to start forming syndicates and buy together. Any butchery, even in a Spar or Pick n Pay, will sell you a whole lamb or beef quarter carcass. They will cut the meat for you – negotiate about the packaging,” Van Heerden added.

 

Perception about meat prices

“The perception that meat is too expensive crept in like a terrorist without us realising it. This is a perception that needs to change. We call on the retail industry to stop reporting beef or lamb prices on their packing in kilograms but to change to prices per 100 grams.

 

“Food Lovers Market was running a massive special for 21 days aged rump steak for R79/kg. This would have sounded even better at R7.90/100g. If the consumer start comparing meat prices at per 100 grams to everything else they buy, they will start to realise how comparatively cheap meat is.”

 

Classification system

“Yes, we know that we have the most advanced classification system in the world, but it doesn’t help if farmers are paid different and mostly lower prices for different grades of beef and lamb, but the consumer doesn’t have the option to also buy according to this grading system.

 

“For a start we call for the removal of AB grades in sheep and beef classification. Farmers can suffer huge price penalties on AB grades, but that meat just disappear into the retail market,” Van Heerden added.

 

Marketing is every farmer’s responsibility

“We call on all farmers to accept responsibility for the marketing and promoting of beef and lamb. If you see meat on special at any retail outlet please, take a photo and share it on our Red Meat SA page by using the hashtag, #RedMeatSA or #SouthAfricanMeat. Feel free to tag Red Meat SA on Facebook and Instagram,” Van Heerden concluded.

 

Visit the website at www.beeswinkel.co.za if you would like to upload your lot or participate in the upcoming Beeswinkel auctions. If you have any queries, please contact Petrus van Heerden on 083 231 0528. Also, follow Beeswinkel on social media and stay up to date with the latest Beeswinkel news. Follow Beeswinkel on Facebook (@Beeswinkel) or Instagram (@beeswinkel).