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Revolutionary South African Campaign Promotes Bush Meat Consumption, Targets $1.5 Billion Industry Growth

South African Campaign Promotes Bush Meat Consumption
A picture taken on August 13, 2014 shows dried bushmeat, at the Ajegunle-Ikorodu market in Lagos. Infected animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest are being considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus. The outbreak of the deadly Ebola feverhas rekindled concerns about the health risks of age-old African hunting and eating traditions that bring humans into close contact with wild forest animals. The virus has claimed more than 1,000 lives in west Africa. AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

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Revolutionary South African Campaign Promotes Bush Meat Consumption, Targets $1.5 Billion Industry Growth


Key Takeaways

  • South Africa launches campaign to promote consumption of “bush meat” as a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative.
  • Spearheaded by Khorommbi Matibe, the initiative aims to harness the country’s abundant wildlife resources, including antelope and plains game.
  • The campaign emphasizes health benefits, environmental conservation, and economic growth, targeting a projected industry value of $1.5 billion by 2036.

 

In South Africa, a new campaign is stirring up conversations as it promotes the consumption of “bush meat.” Led by Khorommbi Matibe, the country’s chief director for biodiversity economy, this initiative marks a shift in traditional conservation methods towards sustainability and Black ownership in the wildlife-use sector.

The campaign seeks to utilize South Africa’s abundant wildlife, including antelope and plains game, as a valuable resource for both culinary and ecological purposes. Matibe highlights the health benefits of game meat, emphasizing its low-cholesterol content compared to traditional livestock like beef.

With South Africa’s rich tradition of outdoor grilling, known as “braais” or “shisa nyamas,” according to Bloomberg, the shift towards game meat consumption could have a significant impact on reducing methane emissions and preserving forested areas, crucial in the fight against climate change.

Despite the annual culling of thousands of game species, much of the meat goes to waste due to inadequate processing. The Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE) aims to address this issue through comprehensive regulation, ensuring food safety standards and promoting traceability in the supply chain.

Crucially, the DFFE’s strategy focuses on sustainable harvesting of wild game rather than captive breeding, aligning with South Africa’s philosophy of sustainable wildlife use. Since a 1991 law granting farmers the right to own wildlife on their land, the country has seen a thriving wildlife economy supported by hunting, ecotourism, and wildlife auctions.

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With ambitious targets set for the game meat industry, including a projected value of 27.6 billion rand ($1.5 billion) by 2036, South Africa aims to capitalize on growing demand for sustainable, biodiversity-friendly products. While exports of game meat remain modest compared to beef, access to markets like China and a growing consumer base committed to environmental conservation signal promising growth for the industry.

South Africa’s innovative approach to wildlife conservation through bush meat consumption represents a unique blend of culinary delight, health consciousness, and environmental stewardship. By embracing game meat consumption, South Africans may well be safeguarding their natural heritage for generations to come.

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