Research collaboration with Cavalier Food Group to drive LITS development in South Africa

BeefLedger SA has been working closely with a team from Cavalier Food Group (CFG) to map existing supply chain workflows and data systems, so as to identify pathways to enhancing data and transactions security in the future.

CFG (more details below) is one of South Africa’s most established, leading integrated meat production groups renowned for its commitment to quality products and a passion for continual improvement.

Research Areas

The research project is investigating opportunities to:

  1. Develop a pathway to cost-effective implementation of a Livestock Inventory Tracking System (LITS), with minimal disruption to existing workflows and practices;
  2. Enhance asset traceability through the processing of cattle to boxed product; and
  3. Deliver new opportunities for enriched consumer experiences.

“In many respects, this is a pilot project, which enables our team to work with CFG to develop a baseline understanding of the existing operating environment, so that we can design solutions that add to and strengthen existing procedures and approaches,” BeefLedger SA CEO Anzill Adams said.

Anzill Adams, founding director of DataLedger and CEO BeefLedger South Africa.

“In each of the three dimensions of the research study, we are identifying existing data capture and management processes so as to align them where possible with the mechanisms that exist within the BeefLedger asset tracker platform. This means being respectful of existing procedures and approaches, so as to minimise impacts while optimising a pathway to a blockchain-secured future of data security and asset provenance,” he said.

LITS is achievable and isn’t cost prohibitive

Mr Adams emphasised that while the work is in its early days, “through our preliminary investigations, we are confident that it is possible to design a staged or scaffolded approach to implementing a systemic approach to livestock tracking and tracing in South Africa. Such an approach takes advantage of the infrastructure developed by the BeefLedger global team – in Australia and elsewhere – and draws on best practice experience in industry and at a technical level.

“The team at BeefLedger believes that a LITS regime can actually be implemented by enterprises of all sizes, and at a fraction of the cost of what’s been estimated over the years. This can be done by adopting a scaffolded approach that bridges analogue systems and processes with our 21st century blockchain infrastructure,” he said.

South Africa and China trade is expected to expand in the future. China welcomes increased exports of high quality agricultural products from South Africa.

“It won’t be easy, and will require a commitment to the pursuit of excellence in the use of technology to provide consumers and regulators with increased levels of confidence on food safety and livestock provenance. Our global team’s experience in livestock traceability means we have access to skills and knowledge to help our industry achieve international best practice without having to re-invent the wheel,” Mr Adams pointed out.

“Exporting to new markets, such as the rapidly growing consumer markets of China, require adherence to strict protocols. That means ensuring traceability of livestock to mitigate against risk of disease transmission on one hand, and robust systems to deliver on cold chain transparency post-production.

“Our global partners at BeefLedger in Australia are experienced in the China market, and have in-country infrastructure that can support South African product find new channels. Strengthening supply chain credentialing is a key ingredient to future success,” he said.

The African continent is a significant producer of beef cattle, with an expanding market. Credentialing supply chains is a key industry challenge and opportunity to grow value and new markets.

Asset Tracking through Production

An area that has gained quite a lot of attention globally over the years is how best to track assets through an abattoir, as a whole carcass is broken down and deboned. The challenges of ‘disassembly’ are ones that the BeefLedger team have tackled through a combination of technological, workflow and business case considerations.

“Ultimately, strengthening track and trace capabilities in disassembly systems is a balancing act between costs of new technologies and work flow / work practice reforms, and the level of granularity of traceability that is desired. The issue isn’t simply one of how to do it, but of at what level of granularity is there a business case for improved traceability,” said BeefLedger Chairman, Adjunct Professor Warwick Powell who is leading the research oversight.

He explains that, “for many people the holy grail is the ability to confirm that a particular portion of meat came from a particular animal. This is technically and scientifically possible today, with DNA technologies and such like. The pertinent question however, isn’t so much whether and how one achieves this outcome but whether and who is willing to see value in this level of granularity. For an M9 Wagyu steak, this level of precision may be warranted and financially justifiable. For a kilo of ground mince, the business case is a long way off.”

Enriched Consumer Experiences

Cavalier Food Group is one of South Africa’s premium suppliers of high quality meat to the Woolworths retail chain. We are thus beginning to explore how blockchain technologies can support the provisioning of a higher value, enriched consumer experience.


The BeefLedger team thanks the team at CFG for their interest and support of this project.

“Thinking about new technologies requires a company that is committed to continually seeking out better ways to deliver efficiencies and improved quality for all stakeholders. There’s no doubt that CFG’s ownership and senior executive management team are always looking for ways to continue to demonstrate leadership, and exploring how blockchain technologies can become a part of their future is an example of this,” said Adjunct Professor Warwick Powell.

The South African team has benefited from extended escorted site visits up and down the supply chain, and that means the cooperation of everyone from producers, farm workers, transport workers as well as those in the processing and packing facility. We look forward to finalising this phase of our collaboration in the near future and to exploring ways in which CFG can demonstrate its leadership outlook in the local marketplace.

About Cavalier Food Group (CFG)

The Cavalier Group of Companies specialises in creating the shortest and most cost effective route for red meat products from farm to fork. The group consist out of the following entities:

Cavalier Foods
Cavalier Foods is an established meat packing plant, situated outside Cullinan, Gauteng and has been in business, since 1998. The factory was designed to pack various retail and case ready cuts, using the latest packing technology for both fresh beef and lamb. Deliveries are done on a daily basis over almost 2/3’ s of the country, utilising the company’s own refrigerated fleet.

Cavalier Livestock
Cavalier Livestock is a livestock trading house with a footprint in all 9 provinces. It exists for more than 40 years and deals in all different categories of production animals : goats, sheep, lamb, slaughter cattle and weaner cattle. The entity is led by one of the partners, Alvin Steenkamp who has more than 25 years’ experience in this field.

Cavalier Abattoir
The Cavalier beef and lamb abattoirs are situated on the same premises as our packaging factories and feedlot. The beef abattoir is approved to slaughter 300 head of cattle per day, and sheep abattoir 1800 sheep.

Cavalier Feeders
Cavalier Feeders was purpose build to add the final growth to lamb before entering the meat production chain. It is situated on Boekenhout Farm, just outside of Pretoria and houses up to 20 000 head of sheep. It has its own in-house feed factory where rations are mixed according to specific requirements.

About BeefLedger

BeefLedger is a dual Australia Good Design Award winning developer and implementer of blockchain enabled technology solutions for the beef supply chain. The design and development team is based in Australia, and is an industry collaborator with Queensland University of Technology and Future Food Systems Cooperative Research Centre.

BeefLedger has partnerships in South Africa, South America, Hong Kong, Japan and China.