Western Cape State Vets are at the centre of efforts to increase Agricultural Exports

Western Cape Minister Ivan Meyer

Yesterday, 16 April 2024, the Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, addressed the 1500 delegates from 48 different countries attending the 39th World Veterinary Association Congress being held from 16 – 19 April 2024 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in Cape Town.

“Western Cape State Veterinarians are at the centre of the province’s efforts to increase agricultural exports. The Western Cape is responsible for 55% of South Africa’s primary agricultural exports with nearly 50% of these exports being either livestock or livestock products,” said Minister Meyer.

Minister Meyer added that the Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s Veterinary Services recently launched its innovative, online electronic Export Certificate Office System (ECOS).

“ECOS provides the customer with a 24-hour export facilitation service which reduces the export certificate application process from days to minutes. The platform streamlines the export process and ensures compliance with international standards. Exports contribute to foreign exchange earnings and a 5% increase in exports will lead to approximately 22 000 new jobs in the agriculture sector in the Western Cape,” continued Minister Meyer.

Excitingly, Minister Meyer also announced that the Western Cape Government’s (WCG) R 30 million revamp of the Provincial Veterinary Laboratory facilities has been completed and that the South African National Accreditation System [SANAS] and ISO 17025 certificated laboratory re-opened on 1 April 2024.

Expressing his concern about the shortage of veterinarians, Minister Meyer said, “The international norm for veterinary services is 200 to 400 veterinarians per million of the population, South Africa has around 60 to 70 veterinarians per million. This represents only 25% of our requirements. So this is a great concern which puts the country’s food security and human health at risk. A fully staffed veterinary service is a critical enabler to a thriving agriculture sector in the province. The agriculture sector creates jobs and drives economic growth.”

Commenting further on conditions under which live animals are transported at sea Minister Meyer said that the unacceptable conditions in which live animals are transported highlight the need to consider placing a ban on the transport of live animals and the importance of biosecurity.

“This year the Western Cape Department of Agriculture prioritise veterinary services and biosecurity. Organisations such as the World Veterinary Association and the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) will play a key role in strengthening our response to the challenges facing the profession and our sector. We must defend animal welfare and advance biosecurity,” concluded Minister Meyer.

Western Cape Minister Ivan Meyer
Dr Paul van Merwe (President of SAVA) Minister Meyer and Dr Rafael Laguens


Minister Meyer receiving copy of book from Gert Steyn of SAVA

Media Enquiries

Daniel Johnson

Spokesperson for Minister Ivan Meyer

Email: Daniel.Johnson@westerncape.gov.za

0799904231 (m)

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