Ever since losing the confidence of the lucrative European market, Botswana’s ailing beef industry has decided to take the bull by its horns.
In a two day consultative workshop held in Otse, stakeholders of the once prided industry resolved that stern reforms were in order if they ever wished to see themselves out of the current doldrums.
The cattle barons agreed that a comprehensive review of the beef sector must be undertaken immediately.
The review would pave way to policy change and regulatory reform of primary livestock production, Botswana Meat Commission, the Department of Veterinary Services and the beef industry in general.
In carrying out this review the Ministry of Agriculture was mandated to expediently create a consultative platform inclusive of the Botswana National Beef Producers Union (BNBPU) in overseeing the transformation of the livestock industry.
Furthermore delegates of the consultative gathering indicated that the monopoly of the BMC Act would only be amended after reforms of the review had been effected.
Meanwhile in a media briefing held last week Minister Christiaan De Graaff said, “It is important to tackle challenges in the industry as a team and as such interactions are very important. Recently we held a Letsema consultative gathering on the beef industry, notably the Amendment of Botswana Meat Commission Act, which was very successful. We made resolutions which we shall all be implementing.”
Delegates also agreed to the export of live cattle from the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccinated areas as a matter of urgency in view of the looming drought.
“The Foot and Mouth Disease-FMD situation in Ngamiland although largely under control, remains unstable. This is largely due to uncontrolled movement of cattle fuelled by recurring drought and freely available water especially in areas around the Delta,”said the Minister.
He said sporadic outbreaks which recur in some problematic areas are due to challenges in enforcing cattle movement control and accessibility for vaccination is poor.
Cases of FMD were recently experienced in parts of Gumare and Kareng.
“In order to improve control of FMD in Ngamiland, the Ministry is implementing several initiatives. Critical amongst these is the control of livestock movement and marketing of livestock to reduce stocking rate in the area, both which have direct and indirect effects on control of the disease.”
“Furthermore, a protection zone is being constructed across Zone 2D. This will in addition to controlling movement of cattle, facilitate market livestock in Ngamiland which will help control livestock density in the area,” continued De Graaff.
Close to 7 000 livecattle have been exported to Zimbabwe by BMC since 2012.