NICHE CATTLE BREED WAGYU UNDER THE HAMMER FIRST TIME IN SOUTH AFRICA
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The Wagyu breed of cattle originated in Japan. Since the first exports in 1976, the breed has gained international popularity, differentiating from commodity beef by its genetically predisposed characteristic for intramuscular fat cells or marbling. This provides exceptional tenderness, juiciness and taste as well as numerous health benefits. It is a growing sector and provides a premium price to producers and is well positioned to contribute towards the Namibian beef industry. The Wagyu is the latest addition to the list of cattle breeds in Namibia.
The Wagyu Cattle Breeders Society of Namibian was registered on 1 November 2017 under the Livestock Improvement, Act 25 of 1977, and the inaugural meeting of the Board was held on the 17 July 2018. NWS is also an associate member of the World Wagyu Council.
The first Wagyu cattle were imported in Namibia during 2017 by Sarel du Toit, Johan Orffer and Andries Schutte. Currently, 21 members are registered with the Society. There are about 277 fulllood and 2,167 Wagyu crossbreds registered in Namibia, and these numbers are growing rapidly.
Due to the prevailing environmental conditions, extensive beef production plays an important role in Namibia. Introducing Wagyu into the existing herd management system creates an opportunity to considerably increase the income of farmers. Production is required to comply with certain standards to protect the integrity of the product and provide quality assurance to the consumer. The product is independently scored by a Meat Image Camera according to the marbling content of the beef which also determines the premium on the beef. Cross breeding of adapted cows with fullblood Wagyu bulls according to the protocols of NWS, will allow farmers to enter the market.
Wagyu in Namibia will face challenges as the supply will initially be low as markets require a consistent supply. Local markets will be the primary focus in the short term but once the production level has increased, export to overseas markets will be developed which creates major opportunities. The NWS is already in discusion in this regard. The NWS is registered and accredited with the Namibian Stud Breeders Association (NSBA) and the approved representative of the Wagyu Breed and Breeders with the Namibian Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry. The NWS is an associate Member of the World Wagyu Council.
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The first animals were born from imported embryos
live imports from South Africa in the same year