Following discussions between partners, including the project leaders from the University of New England, Dr Gary Griffith and Dr Heather Burrow, at the ARC Irene Campus with the project’s industry and scientific council on 3 November, an official launch and “cook fest” was held on 4 November.
In launching the project the Australian High Commissioner to South Africa, HE Adam McCarthy, noted the close linkage between the two countries and the shared challenges in Agriculture.
Participants at the launch were treated to a cooking demonstration by MasterChef © winners, Kamini Pather (South Africa) and Renae Smith (Australia) who were guests of the Australian High Commission in Pretoria. Renae made cheese centred beef burgers while Kamini made beer and soy beef with pak choi and jasmine rice. Both dishes highlighted the value of quality beef product and were enjoyed by all in attendance. Participants were then treated to presentations by the project scientists, including a talk on the veld (rangeland) management, breeding programs, and germplasm conservation and reproductive technologies using a mobile clinic.
The project includes partnership with the South African National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). It also has keen interest and partnership with key supermarkets including Woolworths. It is this element that provides the value chains that will be used to collect data relevant to all the players. The Woolworths supermarket chain was represented at the meeting by Mr Johan Bester, Senior Buyer, Meat.
|Kamini Pather’s dish of soy beef with pak choi and jasmine rice. Source: ACIAR|
All the partners in the Linking Beef Smallholders to Markets project agree that if models are tested and developed to move the small-scale and emerging beef cattle farmers from subsistence to market suppliers, the impact could be felt all over southern Africa with the supermarkets replicating the models in other countries.
By Liz Ogutu, Regional Manager Africa, ACIAR