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Research Focus Areas

CSS Programmes Overview


The Red Meat Research Development South Africa (RMRD SA) Planning Committee identified seven programmes during a strategy workshop in 2018. It was anticipated that these programmes will form the basis for future research priorities.

Research implies the furtherance, assimilation and improvement of knowledge in the agricultural and related sciences through original and other investigations (surveys) and methods of a scientific nature to the advancement of agriculture. Development refers to activities by which knowledge, acquired through research, is utilised. Technology transfer implies the transfer of knowledge, techniques and processes for the application thereof.

Industry experts in the field compiled the programme content, building on the existing RMRD SA research and development plan, which has been in use since 2010.

Programme 1: Sustainable natural resource utilisation

Ruminant livestock production is largely natural resource-based, which poses restrictions on the competitiveness of the substantial livestock sector. A full understanding of the dynamics of and interaction between rangeland, pastures, climate and livestock is essential for sustainable livestock farming. It should also be recognised that livestock production, whether it forms an ideal rangeland condition or a poor condition, is dependent on net fodder production.

Support services directed at sustainable rangeland utilisation and management are at present very fragmented. The research and development (R&D) functions and responsibilities are spread among the nine provincial departments of agriculture... 

Programme 2: Competitiveness through improvement of livestock and forage (to improve sustainability, food security and efficiency of resource use)

It is important that the needs of red meat producers be identified and that research programmes maximise financial gain for the producer. At the same time, scientific advancement must be considered and take place in the whole process.

Efficient cattle and sheep management, reproductive efficiency, animal welfare, parasite control, pasture management and effective use of genetic technologies to increase profitability are the key issues facing producers in South Africa...

Programme 3: Anticipation and mitigation of agricultural risks to create a resilient red meat sector

Ruminant livestock production is largely natural resourced-based, which places restrictions on the competitiveness of the sector. It is mainly relegated to inferior agricultural areas, with inherent risks regarding sustainable production, for example low and erratic rainfall patterns, natural disasters such as droughts and floods (climate change), predation, stock theft and security.

Support services committed to address droughts, for example, are highly fragmented. Drought management and drought classification are not in place and there are no clear policies.

Programme 4: Sustainable animal health and welfare for the red meat sector

Animal health and welfare in South Africa fall under the control of the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (has since June 2019 changed to Department Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development) and veterinary services (under various departments) in each of the provinces. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) proficiency evaluation of veterinary services highlighted various deficiencies in the current structure of veterinary services in South Africa. This has led to a number of disease conditions re-emerging in South Africa that require urgent attention by more modern approaches.

These diseases, among others...

Programme 5: Solutions, processes and technologies that will enhance the production and processing of animal products

The consumer’s decision to buy meat products forms the basis of and is the initiating event in the subsequent development of the red meat industry value chain. Due to the heterogeneous composition of consumer groups, consumers have widely divergent expectations of the product. Their understanding of “value” is the most important measure, i.e. the quantity and quality of the product relative to other types of food and consumer commodity options. In this value package the consumer requires a reasonable price in a marketing service that is attractive and contains the necessary information. Ultimately the consumer eats meat because he/she enjoys it.

The quantity and quality characteristics of red meat that eventually reach consumers are affected by one or more of the various...

Programme 6: Consumer and market development of the red meat sector

Red meat research and development forms part of the essential functions identified by the Red Meat Industry Forum (RMIF) as crucial to maintain a viable red meat industry. In the past few years the RMIF's members and its constituents became more interested in the research and development done by Red Meat Research and Development SA (RMRDSA). Research and development form an integral part of the red meat industry and any industry per se.

The focus of the programme is therefore to revisit market and consumer development in the red meat sector. Market and consumer development are not research elements as such, but rather operational elements. The specific focus of this programme would therefore tend to favour development rather than research...

Programme 7: Commercialisation of the emerging sector

The small-scale and emerging sector consists of mostly semi-commercialised producers, subsistence farmers and households that have limited access to resources. This sector holds at least 40% of the livestock and could be developed to improve national food security. The ability of smallholder farmers to exploit the full potential of their livestock is limited by infrastructure, limitations in management, inadequate feed resources, and inadequate strategies for genetic improvement of their livestock and record-keeping. Farmer time is used ineffectively, and as a result many either remain trapped in unsustainable systems or they retrogress.

The current South African land reform policies promote disaggregation of land in order to attain the transformation mandates in land ownership. However, for the newly-established as well as existing smallholder farmers to be competitive in the mainstream markets.


The following important aspects were taken into consideration in designing and documenting the programme contents:
  • Cross-cutting information dissemination
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Economic impact of return on revenue
  • Sustainability with the three pillars, namely environmental, economic, and social integration.