Botswana: Mission to Improve Beef Sector Continues

Gingin — President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi remains steadfast in his quest to improve the agriculture space for social and economic development and sustainability.

In an interview following a guided tour and demonstration at Glencoe at Gingin farm in Western Australia on Friday, President Masisi said he was going all out to ensure that every Motswana benefitted from something that had sustained the country over the years and could be improved to diversify the economy.

"I am doing all this for Batswana because I want prosperity for all as entrenched in our Vision 2036," President Masisi said.

He added that he believed that the meat industry remained one of the country's mainstay and could make a rebound as it performed well in Botswana's formative years.

He said Botswana's beef exports to European market called for new and innovative ways to improve the beef sector.

President and his entourage had visited the farm which is owned by renowned farmer, Mr Michael Thompson who breeds Munda Reds Droughtmaster cattle to appreciate it and subsequently source semen that would be made available to all Batswana across artificial insemination centres.

"The droughtmaster breed is one of those that can be included to form part of the artificial insemination programme to improve the cattle breed as it has been developed into an animal that has the adaptability to thrive under hard pastoral conditions very similar to Botswana," said the President.

He said the droughtmaster was already available in some farms in Botswana, adding however its potential was not fully exploited.

"The aim of this visit was to appreciate the cattle and acquire first-hand information from a farmer who has the shrewdness in the breed's performance and has done it over the years for commercial purposes," he added.

The President said Mr Thompson had over the years invested in research and development of the breed in a quest to improve it and had been successful.

Furthermore, he said following awarding of one farmer from Ghanzi, Mr Christian Lemcke who was crowned champion of the world at the 2022 America show, the Ministry of Agriculture had since developed more interest in diversifying cattle breeds and the quest was to introduce the droughtmaster so that Batswana could leverage its capability and use it to improve their animals.

"We are here to engage and see how we can collaborate with the farmer and following this, the ministry will make arrangements to buy semen and avail it to Batswana so that those interested can buy semen at a subsidised price to improve their breeds," he said.

He said agriculture had the potential to turn around the economy.

Meanwhile, Mr Thompson said he had been breeding the droughtmaster for 28 years and the breed had done well in harsh climatic conditions.

He said the breed was fertile, had motherly instincts, did well in progeny and its natural quietness made it a friendly animal.

He said the breed was common and had been exported to a number of countries including Indonesia, Israel and Turkey.

"A droughtmaster is a very versatile animal and it is always a good choice," he said.

He said it was important to have the right resources and technology.

Mr Thompson keeps over 3 000 cattle on 2 000 hectares of land.

One of the local farmers and National Agriculture Show chairperson, Mr Thapelo Setlalekgosi said the trip was important as it gave local farmers an opportunity to participate in the benchmarking exercise.

He stressed the importance of using technology for optimal performance of breeds.

Mr Setlalekgosi added that the trip had a lot of positive takeaways that would improve the beef sector in Botswana.

He implored Batswana to utilise opportunities in the agriculture space.

He appreciated government for subsiding training for farmers.

"Farmers should improve their breeds with this highly subsidised semen straws which ordinarily are way too expensive.

People should start knowing that agriculture is not the space to retire to. It is a business," he said.


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