Mochudi — Botswana Stock Exchange chief executive officer, Mr Thapelo Tsheole, says cattle farming can help grow the country's economy.
Speaking during Kgatleng District Agricultural beef farmers day in Dikeletsane cattle post recently, Mr Tsheole said gone were the days when cattle were just reared for prestige and family consumption.
He said nowadays cattle farming created jobs and fed the nation.
"It is the right time to view the agricultural sector as a business and it can contribute to the development of the country's economy," he said.
Furthermore, Mr Tsheole said in 2017, the total population of cattle in Kgatleng was estimated to be 100 000 heads and with such statistics, he said more investments could be done for farmers to earn income.
He said the statistics also indicated that in Kgatleng, a total of 16 541 cattle were slaughtered at Botswana Meat Commission while 4 066 were slaughtered in slaughter slabs.
Mr Tsheole said this was an indication that farmers in Kgatleng used safe methods to ensure health of consumers and curb stock theft since all animals slaughtered at registered facilities had legitimate owners.
He encouraged farmers to use different stakeholders such as Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) and Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) to move the country forward in the agricultural sector and to improve their farming methods.
District agricultural coordinator, Ms Baitshepi Babusi-Hill, said the beef farmer's day was held to workshop farmers on beef production as well as create a platform where farmers could network.
"This beef day would give each farmer an opportunity to network and come up with ideas on how to improve beef production in Kgatleng and also to learn from each others' experiences", said Ms Babusi- Hill.
Kgatleng Beef Production Association chairperson, Professor Christopher Tsopito, said they faced different challenges daily in the beef production which hindered from performing well.
He said shortage of grazing land was one of the challenges they faced as well as disease control and prevention, noting that diseases such as measles remained a problem for them and hoped that the measles strategy that was launched in Dibete recently would reduce measles incidences in the country.
However, Professor Tsopito encouraged different farmers syndicates to form associations that would assist them to discuss issues that affected them, adding that with the formation of associations they would be in position to negotiate with government with one voice.
"Kgetsi ya tsie e kgonwa ke go tshwaraganelwa, let us form associations and through these associations we can come up with solutions and ideas on how to grow our beef production," said Professor Tsopito.
Mochudi East Member of Parliament Mr Moagi Molebatsi appreciated the beef farmers day and said it was helpful to farmers to share their ideas and experiences in beef production.
He said through beef farmers day, farmers gathered to benchmark from each other and to share knowledge.
Thus, Mr Molebatsi also encouraged farmers to form associations as they were helpful to spearhead issues of beef production and to come up with solutions.
Mr Molebatsi further urged farmers to venture into commercial farming as it created employment and contributed to the country's economy.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>