BMC eye new cash cow

Commission consider exporting to Norway

Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) is considering exporting beef to the lucrative Norwegian market.

Addressing a political rally in Lobatse over the weekend where he had travelled to launch a candidate for his party, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the Scandinavian country had expressed interest in buying Botswana beef.

“They have indicated that they need 500 tonnes of beef and 500 tonnes of small stock, and they pay the best prices in Europe,” said Masisi.

He revealed BMC has indicated the desire to sell straight to Norway, which is not part if the European Union (EU). This would effectively do away with the middleman, who historically have not ‘co-operated’ well with the commission, according to Masisi.

BMC, which has been experiencing cash flow problems, is said to be battling with a dilapidated plant, believed to be the root cause of most of its troubles.

While the commission has traditionally sold the bulk of its meat to the EU, the company has recently been looking into non-EU markets.

Although the EU has some of the strictest measures in place, the market has been a regular source of income for the state-owned enterprise.

BMC is expected to export its first beef consignment to China later this year, with the two counties already having sealed the agreement.

Two months back, Presidential Affairs Minister, Nonofo Molefhi confirmed the deal, which he said has the potential to open up more markets in the Asian continent.

Should the Norwegian deal materialize, it will add to the markets Botswana has been exporting beef to, such as South Africa, United Kingdom, Israel and Belgium.

Meanwhile, in order to encourage farmers to sell their cattle due to on-going drought, the commission recently increased its purchase prices.

Government has also started the process of privatising the parastatal, which will also include ending the BMC’s monopoly in the beef-exporting business.