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Unlocking New Horizons: South African Meat Industry to Export 1,000 Tonnes to Saudi Arabia.

Unlocking New Horizons: South African Meat Industry to Export 1,000 Tonnes to Saudi Arabia

In a historic turn of events, South Africa is poised to regain its foothold in the lucrative meat market of Saudi Arabia after a prolonged 21-year ban. This monumental breakthrough comes after a rigorous inspection by the Saudi Arabian Food and Drug Authority, paving the way for South African meat producers to reenter the Asian Kingdom’s meat market. The resumption of meat exports signifies not only a triumph for South African agriculture but also a significant boost to the global halal meat industry.

A Triumph Over Adversity

The lifting of the ban on South African meat products was the result of a meticulous inspection process that ensured compliance with Saudi Arabian market access protocols and halal certification. “We had certain halal procedural issues that needed to be addressed, and the Department of Agriculture had to ensure veterinary certification was obtained to ensure that the ban was lifted,” explained Stravos Nicolaou, co-chairperson of the South African Saudi Business Council (SASBC).

Unlocking a World of Opportunities

Trade, Industry, and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel described this development as a gateway for South African meat producers to participate in the vast global halal meat industry. The Ministry reported that an export deal has already been forged between the two nations, with plans to export up to 1,000 tonnes of meat per year to Saudi Arabia. This newfound partnership is set to make waves in the meat industry, given that the Saudi market is valued at over US$5 billion.

Quality that Speaks Volumes

South Africa has already made a mark in markets like the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia with its premium-quality meat products. As a nation that prides itself on producing top-notch meat, South Africa is eager to showcase its culinary treasures in Saudi Arabia. The decision to lift the ban did not come easily and was the culmination of extensive meetings and preparations. South African Minister Thoko Didiza emphasized that this move attests to the safety of South African beef, the integrity of its biosecurity measures, and the compliance of its abattoirs and feedlots.

A Look at the Numbers

South Africa’s exports to Saudi Arabia in 2022 amounted to US$403.56 million, as per the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade. Of this, meat and edible meat offal contributed US$308.64 million. These figures underline the immense potential for South African meat exports to the Kingdom.

A Growing Market

According to GlobalData, the meat market in South Africa was valued at US$7.5 billion in 2020, and it is projected to experience a growth rate exceeding 3% during the forecast period from 2021 to 2025. Additionally, the South African Processed Meat Market is expected to expand from US$589.16 million in 2023 to a staggering US$821.70 million by 2028, boasting a compelling CAGR of 6.88%.


South Africa’s resurgence in the Saudi Arabian meat market is not just a triumph over adversity but a testament to the nation’s commitment to quality and compliance. As South African meat products prepare to grace Saudi dinner tables once again, the global halal meat industry can look forward to a remarkable partnership. With vast export opportunities and a growing market, this breakthrough marks the beginning of a new era for South African meat producers, one filled with promise and prosperity.

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