Game farming and venison under spotlight

Home Business Game farming and venison under spotlight


As part of the Growth at Home Strategy of the government two workshops were held last week which focused on game harvest and processing as well as the development of a value chain for venison.

The first workshop was held under the chairmanship of the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, and specifically looked at venison market diversification and the development of a value chain for venison as part of the Growth at Home Strategy.

Jaco Hanekom of the Namibian Agricultural Union attended the workshop. He said the venison and taxidermy value chains were the focus points of the workshop.

“The aim of the workshop was to enunciate the value chain to determine the flow of value from the farm to the consumer. The South African consultancy firm OABS (Optimal Agricultural Business Systems) was instructed by the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development to analyse the value chain of the game industry and to develop a strategy to let the industry grow sustainable and to obtain the maximum value.

“The game industry in Namibia is currently underutilised on farm level. A study done by Dr Diana van Schalkwyk has shown that much more value can be obtained from venison as a diversification mechanism. However, there are various challenges which were highlighted by Dr Van Schalkwyk and the OABS as hampering the optimal functioning of the venison value chain,” he notes.

He says some of the challenges which were mentioned were, inter alia, the lack of information regarding the correct and sustainable harvest of game, the seasonality of the game industry which influence abattoirs negatively, and the lack of standards with regard to food security practices and the international market which currently is closed for the export of venison from Namibia. If these challenges can be overcome, the game industry has the potential to add substantial value towards the farmer’s income and also the economy in general.

A follow-up workshop will be announced by the OABS during which the development of the growth strategy for the game industry will be announced.

The second workshop, which was held under the chairmanship of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), concentrated mainly on the practical aspects of game farming, the harvesting of game and the processing of venison. Wallie Roux of the NAU attended this workshop and has the following impressions:

The workshop was opened by local expert, Dr Diana van Schalkwyk, who gave an overview of the Namibian game meat industry.  Then Prof Louw Hoffman of the University of Stellenbosch made a presentation on sustainable game harvesting.  This was followed by guidelines for the local harvesting of game by Dr Yvonne Hemberger of the Directorate of Veterinary Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.  Lastly there was a discussion with representatives of MET on their perspective on game harvesting.

The workshop was part of the Biodiversity Management and Climate Change (BMCC) Project that is jointly implemented by MET and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

The project aims to secure and diversify the livelihoods of communities based on the integrated use of natural resources in a changing climate.  Given that the consumptive utilisation of wildlife plays an important role to achieve this goal, the workshop was held with stakeholders in the wildlife utilisation industry, especially game harvesting teams, game meat processors and traders to discuss guidelines, regulations and challenges in the industry.  The outcome of the workshop will inter alia be used to update the 2010 publication “Guidelines for game harvesting for meat exports”.