The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has extended the deadline for comments on its draft Game Meat Strategy for South Africa, which aims to formalise the game meat industry in the country and expand what can be sold on store shelves.

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

According to the department, game meat can be the meat of animals and birds that are traditionally hunted for sport or food instead of being raised on a farm under controlled circumstances.

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 predominantly produced through conventional livestock farming methods.

Environment minister Barbara Creecy said the strategy and implementation plan are aimed at creating a formalised and transformed game meat industry in South Africa that contributes to food security and sustainable socio-economic growth.

According to the minister, the goal is to attract and open domestic and international markets to opportunities provided by the country’s renowned abundant wildlife.

Creecy said the strategy acknowledges the significant contribution that is being made by current wildlife businesses and the various associations that drive critical elements of the value chain.

“Key to taking the new strategy forward will be to harness their experience and expertise. New private sector investments will be needed, and partnerships and collaborations will be essential, meaningful, and with buy-in from all stakeholders,” said Creecy.

Major South African retailers like Woolworths and Checkers told BusinessTech that they are embracing game meat in their stores and are looking to expand their ranges.

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

Checkers, meanwhile, said that it aims to offer game meat options for sausages, burgers and minced meat, as they are healthier meat options.

The draft regulations are embedded below:

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