How we can improve livestock farming in South Africa

In the past twenty years, the demand for milk and meat in South Africa has grown by at least 50% according to The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. This means that in order for our country to have meat and milk resources, the livestock industry needs to thrive.


How do we make this happen?

In order for the livestock industry to thrive there needs to be some competition within the industry. Commercial and small scale farmers are needed to make this happen so that the country and its people can benefit.

Just as there are many people buying meat and dairy products, we need the same amount of people to be selling in the industry.

People need livestock for different reasons, but the main purpose of it all is to consume it. Whether it is for that family gathering, or to even make biltong, what would happen if there was no livestock? We need to encourage more people to consider livestock farming.


The livestock industry is vital for the economy of the country.

The Department of Agriculture found that 69% of South African agricultural land is for livestock grazing. But between 1994 and 2004 there has only been an increase by one million heads in cattle production.

The decline in cattle production is because of human settlements and commercial property building. The beef industry is only stagnating. Red meat consists of beef, sheep, and goat and cattle production. And at the moment beef and cattle farmers are co-existing, but commercial production is slowly declining, meaning we are going to need more farmers to be selling meat.

Although there are about 40% communal farmers who farm cattle for their own consumption, it adds no value to the economy. We need to have a balance in small scale farmers and commercial farmers to factor in the economic growth of the country.


Statistics by the Department of Agriculture show that there are about 8000 commercial farms and between the 5800 of communal cattle farmers. But there isn’t enough competition within the country. Commercial farming is beneficial internationally and locally, but we are losing out locally.

So between the human settlements in places where cattle grazing can occur and the number of livestock farmers, the beef industry is only declining.


In order for this to change, the country needs to strengthen the number of small scale farmers, this will not only create employment but also eliminate the poverty problem. Slowly the country is running out of food and people are not taking advantage of the available resources.

Employment and poverty can easily become history if government and people work together. People in rural areas who rely on livestock as their daily food can also be taught on ways to make money from their livestock.

In school, teachers need to go back to the basics and teach learners the importance of farming for the country and for the future. We need to encourage more people to go into livestock farming.


Are you looking for cattle for sale? Visit the Junk Mail website for sheep for sale and other livestock.

Yolanda Zondo

Writers see the world differently. Every voice we hear, every face we see, every hand we touch could become story fabric

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1 Response

  1. Didintle Kwati says:

    PLEASE help me find my father’s cattle. He was deceived by a white man and his family to look after his livestock and now they are nowhere to be found. This happened in Stella and Vryburg in the North West province. Identification mark: WOK

    Thank you in advance

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