North West government will boost its provincial economy by exporting donkey skin and meat to China for medical purposes including for menopause.
According to a South African based newspaper report, quoting NW Premier Supra Mahumapelo, donkey’s skin in China is used to produce medicine that delays menopause in women.
A memorandum of understanding with China has already been signed with the provincial government to supply a certain breed of donkeys that produces unique ingredient.
The skin, according to a report, is used for various pharmaceutical products including helping delay menopause in women. The meat is said to be used to feed lions.
“The skin extract will be used for female products that delay and make it easier to deal with menopause. The skin is used to make chewable pieces,” quoted the report.
Even though South Africa does not have Corsican and American Mamoth Donkeys used for this particular medical product, however, the NW government said it will go ahead and breed them.
They will import donkey semen from China and then use artificial insemination to have the breed that’s needed for the product.
The province is considering establishing a feedlot where the donkeys will be bred and slaughtered to produce this product.
Due to the demand of this product, donkeys’ prices of this unique nature are expected to be expensive with an estimated value of R5000 according to the Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development’s chief director Patric Leteane.
The province will start the supply by end of this year and Chinese experts will be roped in to train the local breeders.
Meanwhile, CNN reported last year that Gelatin produced from donkey hide is a key ingredient in one of China’s favorite traditional remedies, known as ejiao, which is used to treat a range of ailments from colds to insomnia.
But as power shifts towards advanced industry and away from traditional agriculture, donkeys are in decline. State statistics show the population has fallen from 11 million to six million over the last 20 years.
China is now increasingly looking to Africa to boost its stocks, and imports donkeys from countries across the continent. Flourishing trade has however hit several roadblocks.
The CNN report stated that: “beyond the severe damage to donkey populations, the new industry caused environmental and economic problems.”
“China’s huge appetite for donkeys does create opportunities that exporters can benefit from with careful planning, says Dr. Emmanuel Igbinoba.