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UP joins EU in international research project into pork meat

By Petronel Smit

Posted on 05 August 2007

The University of Pretoria (UP) has joined a major international research project aimed at improving the quality of pork and pork products. The Q-Pork Chains project is supported by the European Union (EU).

The Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development at UP is the South African link to this project and will be actively involved in the module on Integration and Sustainable Management of the Production Chain. The South African team participating in this module from the end of June 2007 is lead by Prof Johann Kirsten (UP) with Dr Danie Visser (Managing Director, TOPIGS, South Africa), Prof Chris Blignaut (UP) and Mr Danie Jordaan (UP) in support.

During the next 6 months the team will engage with around 20 experts involved in various segments of the South African pork supply chain(s) in order to investigate specific aspects of the supply chain. The result will not only provide a useful international comparison, but could lead to important strategic decisions in the South African industry to improve productivity and quality and satisfy consumer demands.

The project now also includes some of the most important research organisations and industries working in the field of pork and pork products all over Europe. The EU 6th Framework Programme has supported Q-PorkChains with €14.5 million, and the total budget of the project is €20.7 million, which makes this the largest research project in the field of meat science financed by the EU Commission.

Identifying and developing tools for integration and efficient sustainable management of a diversified European production and distribution is the objective. One important activity of the module in which UP is involved, is to achieve a thorough insight into different types of pork chains throughout Europe and in other non-European countries, such as South Africa. This will then define major bottlenecks and opportunities for these chains to be tackled by future R&D programmes.
3. SWOT analysis

UP, along with other participants in the project, will develop new advanced methods for quality control in the different stages of the pork production chain in diverse production systems. The results of the project will be tested in pilot and demonstration chains. Existing and new knowledge will be synthesized and disseminated through the development of education and training programmes.
For more details on the EU project visit the project website at http://www.qpork.org/  



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