South Africans sure have a peculiar way of dealing with our problems. With the drought persisting and compounding the effects of a recent foot-and-mouth outbreak, farmers are suffering the consequences, including a surplus of meat that was earmarked for export now flooding the market.
Our solution? “Braai vir die boere” (“Braai for our farmers”), a national campaign encouraging South Africans to buy more red meat in support of farmers, who are reeling from the loss of meat exports.
The campaign is the brainchild of Beeswinkel director Petrus van Heerden. He says, “South African farmers are currently affected by a severe foot-and-mouth outbreak that has halved meat sales – their main revenue. A large percentage of South Africa’s farmers have not yet planted because of the drought. This means that livestock sales are the only income [these] farmers currently have. You don’t have to send us trucks full of feed. What we need now is for you to eat meat. We invite you to braai.”
Many of Mzansi’s leading agricultural organisations and enterprises, including the Senwes Group, have since supported the initiative. Senwes Chief Executive Francois Strydom says when they heard about the initiative, they immediately became involved, with staff at every office putting some meat on the fire.
“For us it just made sense, given the situation. Once made the call to ‘braai the farmers’ problems away’, staff took the initiative and arranged to have a Braai for the Farmers Day and to challenge other companies to do the same in support of our farmers.”
Consumers can expect a sharp decline in meat prices, although this has not happened yet.
Strydom says, “Buying red meat and having a braai aims to alleviate the surplus of red meat. We estimate that if every person consumes just 1kg more red meat than they usually do, we can wipe out the surplus.”
“Braai for our farmers” also aims to make people aware of the importance of farmers and agri-workers whose work has a direct impact on consumers. Strydom says, “The key message is for people to realise that without successful farmers there is no food security, and we have to do everything we can to support our farmers, always. Agriculture is also the cornerstone of our economy. Our farmers are currently battling drought conditions, and they need our support more than ever.”