The paper analyses the importance of breed conservation in South Africa by means of added value through a number of species. This principle was applied to some of Southern Africa populations: Nguni cattle, indigenous pigs, indigenous sheep landraces including fat-tails (Pedi, Damara, Zulu, Afrikaner) and fat-rumped breeds (Persian) as well as the improved Boer goat. The latter is an example of what can be achieved by selecting an indigenous breed for a specific purpose.
For each breed, possible alternative uses are explained by analysing their characters. For the Nguni cattle (very well adapted to local conditions) a premium is paid for hides with minimal tick damage as these are used for car upholstery, an important added value. Beef quality and easy calving are also relevant factors that are important when crossing the Nguni with European breeds.
Indigenous sheep landraces are often used to develop hardy composites and this helps their conservation, while the Boer goat is in demand in many countries for meat-production and has been exported world-wide; this is probably the only selected meat-goat in the world.
Indigenous pig breeds are capable of generating a good income and are satisfactory alternatives to modern breeds.