Make the most of marketing livestock – African Farming

The livestock market and its associated value chain is said to be the largest agricultural market in South Africa. Auction houses and livestock companies like Vleissentraal provide farmers with access to this market and are key role players in keeping the sector buoyant. 

We are the first line between farmer and buyer,” says Lize-Marie de Klerk of Vleissentraal. “The product goes from us onto the markets.” She believes livestock agents have a duty to let farmers know the requirements of the market.

“Farmers profit from our advice, as we know what the market wants from them at any stage,” she says. The beauty of constructive partnerships is that they expand the capacity of the partners, creating possibilities for sustainability and prosperity in agribusinesses. 

More and more small-scale livestock farmers and communal farmers are turning to auction platforms to market their animals. Once trust is established between livestock agents and farmers, they form strong partnerships. Farmers can sell their animals directly to abattoirs and feedlots, but they also know that prices are more stable at auctions, as buyers have less ability to manipulate the prices downwards.

Good auctioneers with a commanding presence and a sound knowledge of all the role players exert a steadying influence on the auction markets. Farmers partner more readily with organisations they can trust to apply high professional and ethical standards consistently.

Partnerships between livestock agents and communal and small-scale livestock farmers have the potential to transform this sector and to unlock capital and generate profit from the communal herds. 

In another significant partnership, the auction houses and the animal health industry must work hand in hand, says De Klerk. She explains the need for disease-free environments and animals with a clean bill of health. In the current disease climate, with a foot-and-mouth outbreak and mounting cases of brucellosis (contagious abortion, or CA) in the country, collaboration between all the players in the livestock industry becomes even more important. 

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