Middlepits — Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Dr Edwin Dikoloti, says government is working round the clock to secure small stock market for farmers.
Speaking during a kgotla meeting in Middlepits in the Kgalagadi District recently, he disclosed that by April, government would commence to export small stock to other countries where a goat was estimated to cost P1 500.
He encouraged farmers to prepare for this move by ensuring that stock was ready for export.
"Do not eat them now, keep them, feed them to prepare for the market," Dr Dikoloti said.
On a small stock abattoir slated for Tsabong, he said a ground breaking event would be conducted before end of this financial year.
He said infrastructural facilities such as abattoirs were critical to development of the agricultural sector.
Dr Dikoloti highlighted that the effects of global warming had adversely affected farming patterns, therefore, farmers needed to adopt climate smart farming methods to keep up with the changes.
He said the drought situation had also affected animal and food production, hence the need for farmers to strive to improve production efficiencies.
He stated that government had made strides in developing Lobu Smallstock Farm.
Therefore, he encouraged farmers to explore ways of marketing.
Moreover, Dr Dikoloti said, training plans shall be devised for farmers to be drilled on how to market their produce.
"By the year 2050 the world population is projected to be two billion which creates market opportunities thus every individual farmer must think of their role in feeding these people," he said.
On improving technology accessibility, the minister state that government shall work collectively with farmers to devise suitable means for their environment.
For this to materialize swiftly, Dr Dikoloti encouraged farmers to formulate efficient farmers committees which would be the first contact in every village.
He noted that the Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) branch in Middlepits had shortage of necessary hardware.
Furthermore, he encouraged farmers to work together on availability of water for livestock where he noted, constituency funding could be utilized to drill boreholes.
On the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) failure to pay farmers on time, he said, he would ensure that farmers' backlog payments were done.
In 2019, he said, BMC managed to pay small stock farmers adding that he shall ensure that his boots were on the ground to get that the rest of the remaining cattle farmers were paid.
He added that government was committed towards improvement of road infrastructure to improve market accessibility for cattle.
For his part, BMC cattle procurement manager, Mr Ishmael Ramorula, acknowledged the challenges facing the institution and assured that they were working on a turnaround strategy to solve all matters to ensure efficient service delivery.
He divulged that for BMC to make more progress, farmers also had a role to play since they should supply it with more cattle to ensure that it did not operate at a loss.
"550 cattle must be slaughtered per day. Any number that is less than 550 means that the BMC runs at a loss. It's very important for farmers to bring more cattle," he said.
"In this financial year, BMC (Lobatse) had a target of slaughtering 89 000 per annum but in 2019 we only managed 68 900," he said.
Source : BOPA