Farmers Call for New Beef Markets

| May 22, 2015

Sustainable Land Management (SLM) project manager, Mr Tiego Mpho, says they are working closely with BMC in Maun to see how best they can open up new markets for Ngamiland beef.

Responding to some comments during a consultative meeting on the overview of the project, he informed farmers that opening up new markets was one aspect of the SLM project which emphasised on improved access of farmers to markets for livestock products.

He explained that sustainable land management project aimed to mainstream SLM in rangeland areas of Ngamiland District productive landscapes for improved livelihoods.

Mr Mpho explained that BMC marketing team would be assigned to assess the Commission of Enquiry on BMC and find out which markets could be opened up.

He believed that the issue of lack of market would be addressed accordingly by the project as there would be some mechanism in place.

He also informed farmers that currently Maun BMC has been allocated P10 million to expand its abattoir so that it could increase its slaughtering capacity per day.He also noted that a processing plant in Ngamiland was needed to increase quantity and variety of locally processed beef products, allowing higher sales of livestock products and off-take.

He urged farmers to look into the issue of processing plant which he said it would create market for private abattoirs.”As investors, you should think about this issue because it will create market and increase off take in the district,” he added.

Mr Mpho told them that the major issue that contributed to lack of market was Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), noting that the livestock sector in Ngamiland has been aersely affected by persistent outbreaks of diseases associated with wildlife.

He said their district had been designated a red zone and no country was willing to buy meat from a red zone area. In addition, he said some African countries have signed agreements with the government, but they were notfulfilling their promises.

Earlier on, commercial farmers aocated for working with SADC countries to enhance intra-regional trade and the project manager assured them that resources were available to facilitate their working relationship with SADC countries.Farmers argued that market access from Africa should not be stymied by a variety of constraints, including the prevalence of highly contagious trans-boundary diseases such as FMD.

They said the issue of overstocking has been compounded by lack of market outlets for Ngamiland cattle due to the current beef marketing policy.

Farmers said marketing of Botswana beef was largely focused on export of fresh beef to the EU, and was controlled by the BMC and called on government to assign the ministry of Trade and Industry to spearhead in searching of markets.

One of the farmers, Mr Frank Ramsden noted that if there was an increase in off take, farmers would keep their livestock under control hence manage range land.

He said unfortunately, Ngamiland was prone to frequent outbreaks of FMD and Contagious Bovine Pleuro-pneumonia CBPP.Kgosi Kegaisamang Ramokwena said lack of market was a major obstacle as off take cattle was not satisfactory and yet the cattle population is increasing rapidly.

He also noted that most farmers have lost more cattle because of thirst as they could not manage to maintain boreholes because they were financially crippled.Kgosi Ramokwena called on the project implementers to tackle the issue of wildlifehuman conflict particularly elephants first in order for the project to be successful.

The project manager, Mr Mpho said the project would not address the issue of wildlifehuman conflict but aised them that they could make a recommendation that would be channeled to the Project Steering Committee for consideration and see if they could mobilise resources and come up with interventions to chase away elephants.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: General

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