Are South Africans Ditching Horsemeat?-

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I continue to be surprised by an absence of horsemeat imports into South Africa so far this year. This is evident from the data from January 2018 to July 2018.

When I wrote about this subject a few months back, I noticed that in the second half of the year – July and December – were the typical months with a large share of horsemeat imports into South Africa. About a third of the 80 tonnes of horsemeat imported into South Africa in 2017 was in July, with the rest spread across the first half of the year.

But, it would be too early to rule out whether South Africans are slowing down on horsemeat imports or if we will see some activity in the coming months. Remember, in 2016 a large share of horsemeat imports occurred in December.

For context to those who have not been following the story or blog – South Africa imported 80 tonnes of horsemeat in 2017, up by 51 percent from the previous year, according to data from Trade Map. The key supplier was Brazil.

Of the imported horsemeat, only 5 tonnes was re-exported to the Maldives and Swaziland, the rest appears to have been utilised within the country. Looking at trade data makes it hard to tell if this was for animal or human consumption (I’m making this point because this is a question that came up from many people back in March 2018 when I first wrote about this issue).

The horsemeat trade is not unique to South Africa. From a global perspective, the key importers of horsemeat are Italy, Belgium, France, Russia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The leading exporters are Argentina, Canada, Spain, Portugal and Poland amongst others.

Let me stop here and go get me some meat, knowing it’s not horsemeat.


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