Maun — Botswana Meat Commission (BMC), Maun plant manager, Mr Oabona Ramotshwara has appealed to Ngamiland farmers to bring more cattle for slaughter as the abattoir was experiencing low turnout.
Addressing farmers at the Commodity Based Trade (CBT) workshop in Maun recently, Mr Ramotshwara complained that since they started slaughtering cattle early this year, they have experienced low cattle turnout.
He said for the past four months they have never reached a target of 7 900 cattle as they only managed to slaughter 4 950 which was 62 per cent of their target. Mr Ramotshwara also stated that a complete abattoir should at least slaughter 85 per cent of their target.
He, however, said it may be caused by various factors such as the late payment of farmers by the abattoir. He admitted that they had a one-month backlog without paying farmers.
"We were supposed to pay them for 21 April, but now we are processing the March payment," he said.
Mr Ramotshwara also informed farmers that government was implementing the CBT concept to market Ngamiland beef, and that BMC had a new price tag of P23/kg of cold dress mass or carcass weight.
Mr Ramotshwara said CBT would open a new market for Ngamiland beef as currently they were struggling to sell their beef even in neighbouring countries such as Namibia. "We have been also struggling to sell our cattle in Angola and Mozambique," he said.
For his part, Ngamiland principal veterinary officer, Dr Odireleng Thololwane said government recently took a decision to adopt the CBT model in marketing Ngamiland beef to replace the old geographical approach which has led to some regions being declared red zones. He said in line with the CBT policy, all cattle have to be quarantined and inspected before slaughter.
Dr Thololwane also stated that they had received P10 million to maintain two quarantines being Makalamabedi and Kgomokgwana quarantine camp in the Okavango sub district.
He added that due to lack of funds, they would not maintain all the quarantines that were worn out such as Shorobe and others in the district.
Farmers, however, complained that the proposed BMC prices would not benefit them as they were too little. He added that they would incur high transport costs.
They also proposed that BMC should buy their cattle at live weight, adding that BMC should purchase from where they were.
A farmer from Hainaveld, Mr Simon Bojosi said it was the responsibility of BMC to buy cattle from the source and transport it to the quarantines. He said BMC had been doing that in other green zones such as Ghanzi, and that they should not transfer the responsibility to farmers.
Another farmer, Reverend Kgosi Kegaisamang Ramokwena concurred with Mr Bojosi, adding that the new proposal did not benefit farmers.
He argued that it would be a double blow for farmers as they would incur high costs and BMC would also delay with their payments at it was the norm at the commission.
He, however, emphasised that farmers were not against the introduction of CBT in marketing Ngamiland beef, but that they were against transporting cattle to the quarantine.
However, Ngamiland agricultural coordinator, Mr Obet Mabutha had to intervene as the two parties reached a deadlock.
Mr Mabutha ordered different chairmens of farmers association to meet with their members and discuss the issues among themselves.
He said he would call the chairmen of the associations to report back their agreed price on a follow up meeting which would be announced soon.
Source : BOPA