The research is being undertaken in partnership with Woolworths, a high-end commercial department store and food retailer and two free-range accredited collaborating abattoirs nominated by Woolworths (Cavalier Meats in Gauteng and Cradock Abattoir in Eastern Cape). The project is working with smallholder and communal beef farmers across six South African provinces (Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West) to help them supply a rapidly expanding market for high-value, free-range beef from animals slaughtered up to 3 years of age (1-2 years older than cattle which supply South Africa’s traditional grain-fed beef markets).
Additional cutting-edge research is focused on identifying the key factors that impact on the success of individual and communal farmers, farmer co-operatives, abattoirs and retailers throughout the two beef value chains. It is also developing and evaluating cost-effective on-farm production systems and new ways to customise interventions for farmers to enable them to maximise their uptake of proven technologies and improve their farm business performance.
The overall goal of the project is to improve the profitability of smallholder (individual and communal) farmers in South Africa by developing cost-effective and environmentally sustainable beef value chains that supply cattle to meet the specifications of high-value, free-range beef markets.