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Time to beef up small stock farming

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Time to beef up small stock farming
THINKING SMALL: Ralotsia

The Minister of Agriculture, Patrick Ralotsia says small stock farming is the ‘in thing’ as then demand for goat and sheep meat increases globally.

The Minister was officially opening the Sandveld Ranchers Farmers Day at Xeatshaa Cattle Ranch over the weekend.

He noted that while beef production has been core business for most farmers, new trends show that small stock farming is a lucrative business which must be explored.

“Small stock unlike cattle is the easiest and has quick returns. We should be selling thousands of goats and sheep every month because there’s a market,” he stressed, urging farmers attending the two-day event to consider diversifying and introducing small stock.

“The President has been very busy running around and trying to secure a market for our animals; we need farmers to come on board and be ready to export small stock meat,” Ralotsia said.

The Minister further revealed he plans to ensure Botswana beef is exported to Qatar before he leaves his ministerial position. He said they should be doing better as a country in the beef industry as they remain one of the few countries whose beef is organic.

“New trends show that if your product is as close to organic as possible, there are people out there willing to pay big money for it.”

However, he admitted he was concerned over the Botswana Meat Commission’s (BMC) on-going struggle to slaughter enough cattle as the supply continues to dwindle.

“I just learnt that the calving rate here is at 32 percent. That is not a good figure and as farmers we need to introspect and find out what it is we could be doing wrong,” he said, noting there are over 1.2 million cattle in the central District, which is more than half the total number of cattle in the country.

“We should be able to supply BMC with the right number of cattle!” he insisted.

“Our beef is in high demand all over the world and we have to take advantage of these available markets,” concluded Ralotsia.

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