Marketing venison and developing tourism on game farms can be a new source of revenue for farmers. Both sectors are however still in infant stages.
Adri Kitshoff-Botha, CEO of Wildlife Ranching South Africa, said farmers shouldn’t only rely on the northern hemisphere for a market. During a visit to Monate Game Farm in Modimolle, in South Africa’s Limpopo province, Kitshoff-Botha said farmers can also export game meat to the rest of Africa.
Grain farmers earn about US$200 per hectare less than farmers in the USA. Combined with the adaptability of game to any environment, it means game farming is a good alternative to crop farming, she said.
She said in game farming breeding and hunting sections are used optimally, while tourism and game products are underutilised.
“More people want to have a nature based experience in the game industry,” she said.
Private game farming only really started in South Africa in 1966. Today there are 10 000 game farms in the country.
The farms, combined with livestock and infrastructure, are worth about R250 billion, Kitshoff-Botha said.
Between the 1800’s and 1960, there were less than 600 000 head of game in South Africa. This figure now stands at around 14 million. According to Kitshoff-Botha this is thanks to the development of game farming and hunting.
Ellis Lourens, owner of Monate and Thithombo Game Breeders, emphasised the importance of tourism. His business is increasingly focused on ecotourism, an attractive prospect for foreign tourists. The business also offers accommodation in an inn and tenting for the local sector, and provides facilities for conferences and weddings.