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Niche cattle breed Wagyu under the hammer first time in South Africa

Niche cattle breed Wagyu under the hammer first time in South Africa

A catalogue auction in Pretoria is hoping to entice Namibian redmeat producers to invest in the relatively unknown but highly profitable Wagyu breed of cattle. This week, the auction organisers said this will be the first South African production auction ever for the elusive Wagyu and that a massive response is expected from South African breeders.

In order to make it easy for Namibian farmers who are interested in the animals on auction, bidding can be done by telephone. An electronic catalogue is available at .

The Wagyu breed first attracted attention in South Africa some ten years ago when Australian breeders showed that the revenue per carcass of around 400 kg is in the order of N$130,000. This immediately raised eyebrows as the income from a comparable carcass for any of the conventional redmeat breeds, would be between N$12,000 and N$13,000.

The Wagyu, originally from Japan, has made huge inroads in the Australian luxury meat market. At first sight it appears an ungainly and akward animal as most of the weight is in the forequarters, a feature redmeat producers do not favour and intentionally shun when looking for good genetic material.

But the Wagyu’s secret lies in what is popularly called “marbling.” This is the ability of the animals to store fat among the muscle fibres which normally defines a good quality steak. As this genetic trait is most prominent in the forequarters, the animals originating from Japan, all produce a unique carcass that is visibly biased for weight in the front half. The breed is more than a thousand years old but since the Japanese kept their cattle in small enclosures for a considerable part of the year, the breed was not ideal for extensive farming.

In stepped the Australians who realised the potential of the meat and started selecting animals with specific traits to improve their outdoors endurance. Today there are many Wagyu breeders in the Australian outback.

From there the breed found its way to South Africa where conventional cattle breeders at first were not impressed until they realised the race’s enormous financial potential. Wagyu steak is only now becoming popular in South Africa but its extreme retail price makes it a delicacy only for the well-heeled.

Demand in the United States and Europe however, is soaring and it is this demand that makes the Wagyu’s unique meat such a high-priced commodity. The price, in turn, is the reason why at this stage, it is a niche commodity and prospective breeders must realise that they are producing for an overseas niche market.

From the location of the fat marbling in the forequarters, it implies that animals must be more mature than what is considered normal slaughter age. It requires farmers to keep Wagyu production units on the land for longer, and to market oxen only when they reach around 600 kg on the hoof.

One of the pioneer Wagyu breeders in South Africa, Samuel Pauw, earlier this week spoke to the Economist, explaining the differences between Wagyu and conventional redmeat breeds, and also why the animal is ideally suited for Namibian cattle farmers to introduce the genetics into their existing herds, or to breed and produce pure Wagyu as a separate branch of their farming operation.

At the auction some 190 breeding animals comprising SA-bred Wagyus, Red Wagyus (Akaushi), Black Japanese Wagyus, as well as 128 embrios and 36 semen straws, will come under the hammer.

The Pretoria auction is scheduled for Saturday 21 October 2017. It is organised by the South African Wagyu Association with its headquarters in Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State.



About The Author

Musa Carter

Musa Carter is a long-standing freelance contributor to the editorial team and also an active reporter. He gathers and verifies factual information regarding stories through interviews, observation and research. For the digital Economist, he promotes targeted content through various social networking sites such as the Economist facebook page (/Nameconomist/) and Twitter.

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.