The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment has extended the comment period for its draft Game Meat Strategy for South Africa, which aims to formalize the country’s game meat industry and expand what can be sold on store shelves.

The draft rules were first published in July 2022. In a paper on Wednesday (September 14), the department said the strategy will now be open for comment until September 26, 2022.

According to the department, game meat can be meat from animals and birds that are traditionally hunted for sport or food, rather than raised on a farm under controlled conditions.

The most commonly produced and consumed game meat in South Africa includes impala, kudu, wildebeest and springbok. The department said that although ostrich is considered game meat, it is mostly produced using traditional animal husbandry methods.

Environment Minister Barbara Crissy said the strategy and implementation plan aims to create a formalized and transformed game meat industry in South Africa that contributes to food security and sustainable socio-economic growth.

According to the minister, the aim is to attract and open domestic and international markets to the opportunities offered by the country’s famously rich wildlife.

Chrissy said the strategy recognizes the significant contribution made by modern wildlife businesses and the various associations that manage important elements of the value chain.

“The key to advancing the new strategy will be to use their experience and knowledge. New private sector investment will be needed, and partnerships and collaborations will be important, meaningful and supported by all stakeholders,” Chrissy said.

Major South African retailers such as Woolworths and Checkers have told BusinessTech that they use game meat in their stores and are looking to expand their range.

Woolworths said it already sells venison, ostrich and biltong from various game species, which is “big business” for the group. He said he was looking to expand his range.

Meanwhile, Checkers said it was looking to offer venison options for sausages, burgers and mince as they were healthier meat options.

Draft regulations are included below:

Read: New trends on the way to shopping centers in South Africa

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