Auction houses set the bar – African Farming

Compliance with agricultural industry standards and norms across the value chain enables the sector to deliver quality produce to consumers, and for producers and other stakeholders to maintain a good reputation in the sector. 

The livestock agent’s job is to act on behalf of his or her client, the seller, and to protect their interests by getting the best possible price, explains Allan Sinclair, auctioneer and managing director at Vleissentraal Bloemfontein. Auction houses are subject to the regulatory standards and norms of Agricultural Produce Agents Council (APAC).

Overseen by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, APAC is a body that regulates fresh produce, export and livestock agents, he says. “No person can act as a livestock agent unless he or she is registered with APAC and is therefore governed by the council’s rules.”

APAC’s mission is to maintain the status and dignity of the registered agents and the integrity of people in these jobs. The council protects the consumer, buyers and other stakeholders against dishonest practices and aims to contribute to the development and transformation of the agricultural sector. “APAC has regulations that govern the operation of livestock agents, biosecurity controls and animal identification. Auction houses must conform to these regulations,” says Sinclair. 

Industry rules include animal health regulations that focus mainly on sanitary and disease-free standards for livestock, and on the export of animal products. Disease control at the saleyard is very important because of the potential risk for infections and rapid circulation of diseases.

The recent foot-and-mouth outbreak has highlighted the need for stricter control over the movement of animals. Complying with regulations protect animals from inhumane treatment, and SABS Standards for loading, offloading and transporting animals by road also form part of good practice by auction houses.

“It’s good policy for farmers to comply with industry regulations and standards – it shows respect for animals and for fellow farmers,” Sinclair concludes. 

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