Chicken remains South Africa's all time favourite meat, but the consumption of pork has overtaken that of lamb/mutton, SA's agricultural statistics show.
The website Landbou.com today published statistics of meat production and consumption in South Africa over the period 1998-2008.
Over this decade, the number of cattle remained stable at around 13,9 million, but the amount slaughtered for beef increased with nearly 33 %, from 2,2 million to 2,9 million a year.
The number of sheep and goats decreased with almost 10 %, from 26,8 to 24,1 million, although the number that was slaughtered remained constant at close to 5,8 million a year.
Pig numbers also decreased with roughly 10 %, from 1,78 to 1,62 million. Yet the amount slaughtered rose from 2 million to 2,6 million; as a result of increasingly efficient pig production. Pork production increased sharply over the past ten years, from 119.200 tonnes to 189.900 tonnes in 2008 (+ 59 %).
The production of lamb/mutton grew at a far slower pace: only 15,6 % (from 104.900 tonnes to 121.300 tonnes). Consumption rose with only 6 %, from 154.000 to 164.000 tonnes.
In 2008, South Africa imported 45.000 tonnes of lamb/mutton and 61.000 tonnes of beef, which is comparable with the average annual import over the last decade.
Beef production rose with 58 % from 512.000 tonnes in '98 to 809.000 tonnes in 2008. Beef consumption went up with 53 %, from 560.000 tonnes to 859.000 tonnes. Pork consumption also showed a rapid growth, with 65 % (16.000 tonnes to 208.000 tonnes). The growing meat consumption is due to population growth and economic development.
Beef remains South Africa's favourite red meat. Traditionally this was followed by lamb, but over the last decade the pork consumption has overtaken lamb. Last year, the average South African wolfed down 17,9 kg beef, 4,4 kg pork and 3,4 kg lamb.
But the majority of the nearly 50 million South Africans can only afford white meat – mainly chicken – which tops the charts with nearly 30 kg per capita. The consumption of chicken and other poultry showed a 62,6 % growth over the last ten years, from 874.000 tonnes in 1998 to 1,421 million ton in 2008.