Mabuyane happy with Kuwait export of live animals, safety measures in place for the shipment

The Premier of the Eastern Cape province, Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane and the President of the Agri Eastern Cape, Pieter Cloete said they are pleased with step taken by stakeholders to ensure safety of animals being boarded into a vessel to transport them to Kuwait as part of the trade agreement facilitated by the provincial government with the agency of Kuwait government.

Mabuyane and Cloete, together with the Eastern Cape Rural Development and Agrarian Reform MEC, Nonkqubela Pieters visited the vessels that is loading 56000 sheep, 200 goats and 1500 cattle at the Port of East London.

He said the export of livestock to Kuwait from the Eastern Cape means a lot for the province in terms of growing the provincial economy as the provincial government has identified both primary agriculture and agro processing as one of potential sectors for growth and as the niche sector for the province.

“So we are looking broadly on that and this is one of those practical steps we are making to ensure that we benefit out of globalisation, so we are part of this globe. So we are looking at the broader value addition of this and the value chain beneficiation, how to bring subsistence farmers on board. You understand that government has been investing a lot in terms of livestock improvement, particularly looking at the meat and the wool production . We are quite happy with the work that is happening. This transaction alone is more than R200 million investment into this and more than R1.2 billion has been put into this. This is the sixth installment of this loading that you are seeing here and this is taking us somewhere,” said Mabuyane.

Happy with the Kuwait export market, Mabuyane said the province has a lot of livestock, which will also help improve and increase breeding and production of livestock to maintain the superior quality of meat produced by the province  from genetics point of view compared to other provinces.

He said while there are other Middle East countries talking to the province about similar trade deals that will include livestock and many other agricultural products, the provincial government wants to ensure local beneficiation.

“I know Saudi Arabia is knocking at our doors. We are also looking more in expanding and diversifying this approach where we are able to do more from the production side of meat so that we retain jobs and get more byproduct out of the skins of animals. These are things that we are looking at. This is a partnership arrangement between Kuwait and business people from this side facilitated by the government of the Eastern Cape. You will understand that Al Mawashi made this pronouncement in one of those presidential investment summit that they will be investing about R2 billion for this. So it is coming together slowly but surely, so today we thought that let’s come and see it for ourselves,” said Mabuyane.

In response to complaints about animal welfare, Mabuyane said: “There has been a lot of hullabaloo, complaints about this or that out there. We are quite happy with how everything is being handled here, its quality up to standard, animals are looked after, animals are happy. We were moving around the ship, they are eating as we speak, they are moving, they have got space, they are drinking. So if they were under stress, they would not be doing that surely. So we are quite happy with the work that has been done and the quality of work that is being put into this.”

He encouraged commercial farmers to embrace previously disadvantaged farmers to be on board in terms of supplying animals to the feedlot so that this becomes the revolution on its own in getting everyone and making agriculture fashionable.

Cloete said it was vital to understand the spinoffs in the province that come from this export and likened it to the motor industry, saying some people see a car and think its only a Motor car but there is a tyre industry, there is upholstery industry and everything that goes with it.

“With this we are really going to work hard to try and lift genetics with the emerging farmers because that is where the numbers are as you all know the Eastern Cape has got the highest number of livestock of all the provinces in this country. So it is of vital importance that we get this industry to keep it going,” said Cloete.

He said: “We are happy today. We came here to see the loading of sheep into the vessel. It is beautiful inside there, they are being well fed, some are resting and there is no problem. Some people are complaining that they are being ill-treated but you can also check for yourself, that place looks like a hotel and there is nothing wrong there. It’s beautiful in here. No doubt, the animals are looked after and this is a floating feedlot and nothing else.”

For the current shipment of animals R177 228 000 was paid to purchase animals from farmers, R17 960 000 was spent on purchasing feed for the animals, R1 200 000 having paid as salaries for temporary jobs flowing from the preparation of the export of these animals, R3 334 87 paid to the East London Port, R1 695 00 used to purchase animal vaccines and veterinary supplies for all animals being transported, R10 220 000  injected into the transportation of animals