Welcome to 2024

2024 is going to be an interesting year with numerous challenges, both at home in South Africa and around the world.

Seventy-six countries will hold elections in 2024, affecting about half of the world’s population (4 billion people). Many of those elections will not be free, fair, or democratic, which, for those who believe in democracy, will be unsettling. The presidential elections in the United States will be especially fascinating. Will Donald Trump return for a second term? What might that mean for global politics?

South Africa will be holding its seventh general election, which we trust will be peaceful, fair, democratic and the results accepted by all our citizens. The ‘noise’ that goes hand in hand with electioneering and the policy uncertainty for private citizens and government employees over the next few months will make ‘getting things done’ challenging. SAPPO has always held the viewpoint that private–public cooperation is pivotal in sustaining vibrant industries; we will not let the noise distract us.

The world is extremely unsettled at the moment with conflicts and potential conflicts, including the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and its spill-over to other Middle eastern countries, China’s sabre rattling over Taiwan, North Korea declaring South Korea enemy number one, and the on-going war in Ukraine. Global uncertainty translates into economic pressures, a dampener on economic growth, and increased volatility in supply and demand.

Pork prices in the last quarter of 2023, coupled with lower feed prices, meant that pig farmers enjoyed some respite after some tough times. Unfortunately, there has been a decrease in pork prices over the past few weeks, attributable to lower consumer demand and/or purchasing power. Fundamental improvements in our domestic economy with concomitant increases in employment and improved household incomes would increase demand for meat protein, especially pork, but is unlikely to occur soon. Therefore, it is anticipated that pork prices will remain under pressure. Recent good rains and good carry-over maize stocks should keep feed prices affordable during 2024.

The resilience of SAPPO members in disruptive times will be key in 2024. SAPPO will continue to provide accurate, transparent data and analyses to facilitate sound business planning. We welcome interaction, dialogue, and suggestions in an endeavour to improve our service to the pork value chain.

Our marketing team has been looking at ways to increase the acceptance of pork via the myth busters and pork facts advertising campaigns. The increase in use of social media to advertise pork is exciting, as we can now measure our reach. In addition, the time from conceptualising an advert or message to distribution is faster. We firmly believe that these initiatives will strengthen our presence in the meat protein segment.

We cannot promise a great 2024 for pig farmers, but what we can promise is that Team SAPPO has the interests of the pork industry at heart and will do all we can to support you.

The SAPPO team is grateful for the support of pork producers and the other role players in the pork value chain. We are ready for 2024 and look forward to being of service to the industry at large.

Best wishes for 2024!

Dr Peter Evans