National Council Meeting feedback

SAPPO’s National Council met on 28 June to reflect and deliberate on SAPPO’s future strategy. The council, which is representative of all production regions and most segments of the primary pork value chain, engaged on the significant changes in the macro-environment of the industry. A high-level of consensus prevailed that SAPPO is ideally positioned to amplify its impact in the coming three years.

Johann Kotzé, SAPPO’s chief executive officer, highlighted several trends that will mediate the sustainability of the pork industry. He pointed out the rate of institutional decay among all state departments and key agricultural functions, including state veterinary services, Ondersteport Biological Products, agricultural extension officers, and foreign market access facilitation. He also highlighted that the pork industry, as part of the larger agricultural industry, needs to actively lobby for the establishment of public–private partnerships.

Concurrently, voluntary industry schemes will become a critical mechanism through which the industry can regulate its own practices. However, it was duly noted that the industry will have to proactively lobby the government for the changes to come, as inter-stakeholder trust and role clarification will shape the success of the required partnerships

Furthermore, the structural landscape of the pork industry was described as dualistic in nature, in that 30% of pig farmers are responsible for 90% of pork production. It was noted that SAPPO needs to strategically position itself to sustain this interdependent ecosystem and be mindful of the vastly different operating environments between large- and small-scale producers.

The changing technological landscape and the impact that social media has on consumer perceptions and consumption were also stressed. The use of enhanced business intelligence spanning across the entire pork value chain was noted as a key foundation to further digitising and optimising industry efficiencies and interventions, including Pork 360, the movement app, and passive disease surveillance.

The imperative to define a sustainability framework that can inform the workings of financial institutions and off-takers was also noted as a key priority. Increasingly, various financiers are pressured to measure and report on the sustainability of farms beyond the traditional financial indicators. SAPPO will endeavour to integrate existing initiatives into a coherent framework that acts as a licence-to-operate for individual farmers and the industry at large.

Moreover, the sentiment that SAPPO’s initiates are solely geared towards a certain group of farmers was attributed to misinformation. Several council members noted the need for improved communication and trust-building among primary producers. SAPPO stressed its commitment enable its council members to act as ambassadors of SAPPO’s strategy.

Operationally, SAPPO will keep itself accountable by focusing on the following focus areas:

  • sustainable pork industry growth;
  • a collaborative pork industry;
  • industry stewardship;
  • South African pork integrity;
  • communication; and
  • leadership in agriculture.