Free Stater has SA’s ‘tastiest lamb’


And it’s official: Paul van Rooyen from the Free State – with his Meatmaster lamb – is the country’s lamb king for 2023.

Van Rooyen walked away from the Loftus Stadium in Pretoria at the weekend with R50 000 in prize money (and a trophy, worth R80 000, from the sculptor Nic van Rensburg) thanks to his delicious lamb.

The agricultural organization Saai’s popular Lamb Champs competition was held at Loftus on Saturday and gave sheep farmers from across the country exposure to consumers.

And consumers were there in large numbers. According to Saai, more than 5,000 visitors came to taste the 100 lambs on spits to determine which farmer has the best lamb meat in the country.

Van Rooyen eventually walked away with the laurels, followed by Basie van Wyk from Limpopo and Leon Struwig (who represented S2 Boerdery) in third place. Van Wyk and Struwig’s lambs were Dormer and SAVM respectively.

Lamb Champs was launched in 2022 as part of Saai’s efforts to shorten the agricultural value chain and give consumers more direct exposure to producers.

“We want to be able to say to the consumer, who grills a mutton chop on a Saturday afternoon: ‘Meet farmer A and farmer B. These are the people who breed sheep with so much care and knowledge so that you can have the best lamb on your coals. braai,'” says Francois Rossouw, CEO of Saai.

The festivity is also a marketing event, especially between farmers and slaughterhouses, hotels, households and restaurants.

“We are excited about the new opportunities that will arise for these farmers from this year’s Lamb Champs,” says Rossouw.