It’s not going to be cheap to buy gammon this Christmas. Picture: Jason Boud/African News Agency
It’s not going to be cheap to buy gammon this Christmas. Picture: Jason Boud/African News Agency

SA's favourite festive season meats will cost more money this year than before

By Mwangi Githathu Time of article published Nov 25, 2020

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Cape Town - The traditional honey-glazed gammon with crackling, a favourite at Christmas, and that leg of lamb on the braai when family visits during the festive season, will be a lot more expensive this year.

Economists and experts in the meat industry said increases in meat prices and the absence of a 13th cheque meant meat was considered a luxury.

Senior finance and economics lecturer at Mancosa, Meshel Muzuva, said: “According to the National Credit Regulator (NCR), four out of 10 credit-active consumers have accounts that are three or more months in arrears. The definition of luxury has changed, given salary cuts and curbs on bonus and commission payments.”

Paul Makube, a senior agricultural economist at FNB, said: “With Christmas only five weeks away, the current trend in meat prices signals prospects of braais becoming an expensive option during the 2020 December festive season.

"A-grade beef prices have for the first time breached the R50/kg mark due to higher demand and are currently over 15% above the 2019 levels.

"At current levels, lamb and mutton prices are 28% and 40% higher respectively relative to 2019 levels. As for pork, prices are now 15% and 9% higher than 2019 levels,” he said.

Fresh chicken may have to be the meat of choice for the festive season.

Makube said: “Unlike other meat types, the situation with chicken is that its product categories show a mixed trend with downward pressure for fresh whole birds while the frozen whole birds and IQF (individual quick freezing) strengthened relative to the 2019 levels.

“Part of the reason for the increase is the fact that yellow maize prices, a major feed ingredient, averaged R3 342/ton in the last three months which is 24% higher year-on-year.”

Meanwhile, supply chain executive at Beefmaster Group, Roelie van Reenen, said: “South African cattle farmers are no strangers to uncertainty. Many dealt with pressures prior to the pandemic. From outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease and a devastatingly long drought to swings in the price and demand of beef. These struggles are a testament to the resilience of cattle farmers.”

“In future, there will be pressure on farmers who are not able to lower their costs through improved productivity. We need to support our farmers to run their operations more profitably and productively,” he said.

Cape Argus

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