Lobatse — Botswana and Angola can strengthen trade relations through the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in agriculture, says Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Mr Molebatsi Molebatsi.
Speaking after a tour of the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) abattoir in Lobatse by a delegation from Angola's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry September 20, Mr Molebatsi said the MoU focused on animal disease control and trade in agriculture and beef production. He said that the agreement also covered the export of vaccines from Botswana Vaccine Institute as Angola was one of the biggest buyers of vaccines from the institute.
Mr Molebatsi added that the other focal point of the cooperation concerned the sharing and exchange of skills, noting that Angola had approximately four to five million cattle and that they wanted to have their own abattoirs.
The Angola delegation was led by the secretary of agriculture and forestry, Mr Joao Manuel Bartolomeu da Cunha, who said there were similarities in cattle breeding methods between Botswana and Angola and that the two parties wanted to learn from each other with the aim of improving their beef sectors.
"We have to make sure that apart from the political relationship, commercial and business relationships should also be put into practice. This exchange of experiences will help us to reach a very good level," he said.
BMC sales and distribution manager, Dr Mbaakanyi Mazwiduma emphasised that they produced the best organic beef with the highest certification.
He also noted that 80 per cent of cattle slaughtered at the abattoir came from subsistence farmers.
He added that BMC had played an important role in the economy of the country since its establishment in 1965.
"We exist not to make big profits, but our core mandate is to ensure that farmers get the best available prices for their cattle. Our product is sustainable and the majority of it is grass-fed," he added.
He also said the fact that Botswana was a leading country in animal disease control made beef from BMC a sought after commodity.
He noted that Foot and Mouth Disease had been eradicated from most parts of the country, and that 90 per cent of their beef was eligible for export.
"Through the traceability system, we are able to guarantee where the particular piece of meat came from," he said.
Dr Mazwiduma also pointed out that BMC subscribed to the highest food safety standards and allowed to export to the biggest markets in the European Union.