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The South African Pork Producers Organisation’s (SAPPO) annual general meeting (AGM) is a valuable opportunity for pig producers and other role-players in the industry to get together to discuss industry matters. Important industry topics such as reporting back on 2022 and future strategies for the industry after the Covid-19 pandemic were discussed during this year’s AGM.
Stephen Butt, the new chairperson of SAPPO, thanked all levy-paying members stating that their levies enables the organisation to represent the industry. The levies also enables the organisation to conduct relevant research and launch projects such as mentorship programmes to advance producers. Butt also thanked Johann Kotzé, outgoing CEO of SAPPO, for his work, saying he was a true innovator who saw the value of image building and branding to improve the public’s view on pork and the pork industry.
Kotzé who announced his retirement from this position earlier in 2023, gave feedback on the organisation’s budget and spending for the year 2022. He stated in his report that there has been an increase in slaughter numbers, leading to an increase in levies received. The increased spending on consumer communication and education has been instrumental with great results yielded by the organisation’s social media campaigns. The spending was also funded by funds carried over from the 2021 year.
Kotzé also gave a brief breakdown of the organisation’s history and its accomplishments. He highlighted that the pork industry is a complex one as there is a vast difference between informal and formal pork production. With corporate governance and structural projects, Kotzé said that the organisation has proved its commitment to the industry in terms of growth, collaboration, integrity, stewardship, communication and leadership. He concluded by stating that true transformation is not black economic empowerment. It is the action of transforming an industry for the better and to everyone’s benefits, not just for a selected few.
SAPPO’s plans for the future
A series of presentations were made regarding the organisation’s future plans in terms of consumer education and assurance, business development and intelligence, and communication. The presentation started with consumer assurance.
Dr Peter Evans, the new CEO of SAPPO, emphasised the importance of biosecurity and traceability of diseases in view of increased reports of African swine fever (ASF) cases. Passive surveillance by veterinarians are necessary to maintain good biosecurity practices on farms. Evans added that exporters must upskill themselves with the latest World Organisation for Animal Health’s (WOAH) compartment regulations for the exportation of live pigs.
Nico Scheltema, head of business intelligence of SAPPO, informed all that there are more registered pork producers and the improved producer-to-maize price ratio of 8,9 is driven by lower maize prices. Scheltema added that the South African Meat Industry Company (SAMIC) assists with the verification of pigs slaughtered and this helps with collection of levies.
Business development is a vital pilar in the continuation of an industry. Kgadi Senyatsi, head of business development at SAPPO, said that their strategy focusses on mentorships and study groups in order to reach more pork producers. SAPPO hosted 8 farmer’s days in 2022 with great success and the SAPPO academy offers eleven modules on pig production. Senyatsi added that the social media avatar, Zach, is also assisting the organisation with sharing information with pork producers.
Consumer education and communication
Communication is very important, as Jolanda Andrag’s report showed. As chief operating officer, she focusses on campaigns to increase awareness and the distribution of information. Andrag said they launched 139 campaigns in 2022 with an open rate of 32,4%. Their social media campaigns generated 4 130 493 impressions and a reach of over 800 000.
In order to increase market share, one has to continuously educate consumers. Christian Zimelka, head of consumer education, stated that advertisements in print media still reach consumers and the campaign ran in magazines such as Veeplaas and Stockfarm, paid dividends. The in-house development of pork recipes and the creation of culture-specific social media campaigns have elevated the image of pork as an animal protein. The creation of mascot, Suzy, assisted the social media campaigns’ organic reach and presence.
Dedicated producer honoured
A special certificate was also awarded to Peter Mockford for his contribution to the pork industry. Mockford received the certificate from his son, Shaun. Mockford is the mastermind behind Pig Gen and the accepted practice of using imported semen to better South African pig genetics. – Phillip Crafford, Plaas Media