Charleshill — Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) board is committed to transforming BMC and improving the beef industry, Ghanzi farmer, who is also BMC board member, Mr Rudy Lemcke said this at Charleshill agricultural show on recently.
He observed that turning around the beef sector would benefit pastoral farmers, particularly at rural areas, saying 80 per cent of cattle that were sold to BMC were from rural areas.
He said a recent increase of P3/kg at BMC across all categories was a positive move to benefit beef producers.
Also, he said prudent management of the beef industry would improve the country's economic status, because 'Beef sector contributes two per cent to the economy, but if things could be done well its contribution to the economy would rise to six per cent within five years'.
In addition, Mr Lemcke stated that the beef sector would become the main employer.
He added that it takes a proud and honest farmer to make a breakthrough in the beef industry, thus he implored farmers to play their role to get the industry in the right direction.
He said he was recently in Namibia to forge relationship with farmers, 'and they said we are the best, we must be proud and further our efforts."
Mr Lemcke reminded the audience that farming had been the mainstay of the society from time immemorial, and that most people holding prestigious positions were raised by humble farmers. He therefore challenged young farmers to borrow a leaf from yesteryears' farmers.
Farmers committee chairperson, Mr Lewis Kanguaiko challenged farmers to heed government call to join associations, saying they could best tackle some challenges easily through associations. He observed that lack of market in the beef sector was exacerbated by BMC monopoly.
He regretted that BMC was besieged by debts, adding that it also delayed farmers' payments. He however expressed gratitude to KgomoKhumo operation in the region, the move he said would save the beef industry.
Charleshill show committee chairperson, Mr Job Mosupi challenged farmers and the community to make hay of agricultural shows, so as to be a self-reliant society and see improved production in quality and quantity of their produce.
Mr Mosupi said despite weather challenges posed by climate change, such as poor rain, some farmers efforts to improve stock were evident, but such efforts were let down by low prices in the market.
Kgosi Barnabas Pitwane appealed to farmers who did not participate in this year's show to make it a point to participate next year, saying they should use the platform as a launching pad for their produce.
Handing kraals worth P20 000 to the show committee donated by Water Utilities Corporation, chief executive officer, Mr Gaselemogwe Senai said it was befitting to donate kraals with a hope that the gesture will change the landscape of the show and beef sector as a whole in Chalershill area.
He appealed to the beneficiaries to put the kraals to good use and avoid vandalism.
Ghanzi District Council chairperson, Mr Galetlhaole Sixpence guaranteed WUC-CEO that the kraals would be under good care because they are for the benefit of lives of ordinary community members.
He told the gathering that he found many farming activities being carried out in Sahara Desert during his visit at Morocco, hence Ghanzi region in the Kalahari Desert could also do the same and become agricultural hub.
Source : BOPA