Agribusiness news

The European Union (EU) lifted a four-year ban on fresh ostrich meat after South Africa was declared free of bird flu.
Alan Winde, the Western Cape minister for economic opportunities, confirmed: “Resuming exports to the EU will play an important role in increasing the number of jobs in this industry, which currently employs over 50 000. The local ostrich industry is far less dependent on fresh meat as a product than it was in 2011.”
The Western Cape is the country’s main exporter of ostrich meat, chicks, feathers and eggs in an industry that is estimated to be worth more than R1bn.
The EU instituted the ban in April 2011 following an outbreak of the H5N2 substrain of bird flu.
The ostrich industry has taken steps to mitigate the financial risk should avian influenza break out again, said Francois de Wet, chairperson of the Ostrich Business Chamber.
The ostrich sector almost managed to recover after the EU embargo as demand and prices for ostrich leather increased due to fashion trends, Winde said.
Before the ban, SA was slaughtering 230 000 ostriches annually for their meat. When the EU imposed the embargo, this tumbled to 120 000 and then recovered to 190 000 by 2013 because of demand by fashion houses such as Kering SA’s Gucci and Prada SpA. – www.Fin24.com