The Red Meat Producers’ Organisation (RPO) supports the drastic measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“The RPO has taken note that agricultural production and specifically red meat production will continue in the 21-day exclusion period. The RPO accepts the measures with the necessary responsibility,” said the chairperson, Koos van der Ryst.

These include essential activities such as slaughter, value chain supply actions, veterinary and phyto-sanitary services, and production related actions such as feed supply and water supply. The RPO is in discussions with the Department of Agriculture to determine whether auctioneering is an essential service.

Self-regulation is key

Healthy individual self-regulation is key. Contact with people within society and industry must be kept to the necessary minimum. The workforce must also be scaled down to the minimum.

The RPO is affiliated to the technical task team appointed by the Minister of Agriculture with sub-committees on economy, social impact and communication. These committees function virtually and the RPO will always promote the interests of red meat producers.

The foot-and-mouth WhatsApp group of the RPO has been expanded to a COVID-19 group and will continue to circulate information and news through the group on a regular basis. To become part of the group, send an SMS to cell phone 082 788 9012.

Demand will be supplied

“We, as red meat producers, want to assure the public that we will continue to produce and that there is no need for fear. Fortunately, most of South Africa is blessed with good rain that supports red meat production,” said Van der Ryst.

At this stage, demand for red meat locally is still strong and export markets continue to be normal. More than 95% of lamb, sheep and beef production is consumed locally. – Press release, RPO