CAPE TOWN, April 1 (Xinhua) -- South Africa on Monday welcomed the resumption of ostrich meat exports to the European Union (EU), calling it a positive sign that will soon contribute to the full recovery of this sector.
The EU announced the decision last week, one year after it imposed a ban on ostrich meat from South Africa due to residue testing procedures which did not meet the EU's requirements.
The resumption of meat trade will help ease the pressure that ostrich farmers in the country, particularly in the Western Cape province, have been experiencing in recent years, said Beverley Schäfer, the Western Cape provincial minister of economic opportunities.
The EU is the largest market for South African ostrich meat and the ban, coupled with extreme drought in the Southern Cape and Karoo regions, has severely impacted the ostrich industry, said Schäfer.
South Africa currently holds around 75 percent of the global ostrich market share, with 80 percent of the country's ostrich meat coming from the Western Cape. Ostrich exports are divided into meat, leather and feathers, with meat and leather being the most lucrative of the markets in the Western Cape.
The ostrich industry is an important contributor to the Western Cape economy and is responsible for creating thousands of jobs, particularly in the Southern Cape and Klein Karoo regions of the province.