Help our game farmers and #GoHunting!

The game farming industry in South Africa has suffered a serious setback owing to draconian restrictions on hunting under COVID-19 regulations. A significant part of the more than R16 billion the industry contributes to the economy every year depends on foreign trophy hunters, and last year they could not come. The situation this year is not much better and game farmers need all the assistance they can get.

Saai, WRSA, Meerkat Auctions and Buffelsfontein Beesboerdery Restaurant are working together in developing solutions to the financial challenges in the game industry. An income bridge across the COVID-19-related challenges to the game industry must be built that can keep family farmers on their farms, that is not dependent on foreign visitors and that can be implemented on a large scale. This is the reason for the unique partnership between a network for family farmers, the industry structure for game farmers, a digital marketing platform and a well-known leading restaurant.

In the short term there are no alternatives for more aggressive marketing of products in the game industry, and the challenge is to mobilise many more local hunters so that they can plug the most critical gaps left by foreign hunters. Those biltong hunters who do not don their hunting boots every year must be motivated and assisted to do so this year, because every local hunter who visits a game farm this year for hunting or socialising means a step closer to survival for the specific game farmer.

The most important product of game apart from trophy hunting is the meat. It is the most organically produced red meat, the tastiest biltong, the cheapest protein and the most natural beefsteaks or sausage on a barbecue fire or a plate, and what is more – it is a luxury.

A huge proportion of the turnover in the game industry comes from the live sale of game to game farms for breeding or hunting purposes. Both, however, are stimulated by the hunters who create a demand.

All these dimensions of the game and hunting market were addressed at last night’s #GoHuntingDay event at the Buffelsfontein Beesboerdery Restaurant in Menlo Park. Venison was dished up in various innovative ways to guests, including some of our foremost retail meat distributors, restaurant and hotel groups, to boost the demand for venison.

Hunting packages are sold on the new digital agricultural auction market Meerkat, offering a facility for every game farmer in South Africa to upload his packages in future. Using the latest data and digital technology, Saai and WRSA are trying to create new momentum in the local hunting market. Like any agricultural produce market, Meerkat becomes the digital square where buyers and sellers meet, and prices are determined by supply and demand.

In this great effort to cast lifelines to family-based game farmers, Saai and WRSA need every single helping hand that is extended. It is about much more than hunting, biltong, braaiing or socialising. It is about a family on a family farm with their name on the gate post, and they need your participation now!

If you are a game farmer wishing to upload your hunting package, click here: https://forms.gle/AsuMHesDynCCP1Hz7

To bid on one of the hunting packages, use one of the following links:

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Alternatively, get more information here:

▪️ https://portal.meerkatonline.co.za/authentication/login

▪️ www.meerkatonline.co.za