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Foot and Mouth Threatens Botswana Beef Industry

14 February 2008

BOTSWANA - Foot and Mouth disease continues to be a biggest threat to the Botswana Meat Commission businesses according to the commission's executive officer Dr Motshudi Raborokgwe.

Speaking during farmers meeting in Tshabong, Dr Raborokgwe said the out break of the disease in Bobirwa and Ngamiland districts had affected BMC a great deal.

In addition, he told the meeting that last year BMC managed to kill 171 217 cattle compared to 137 336 cattle killed in 2006.

Farmers also heard that improvement of the national breed and infrastructure such as electricity, roads and telephones in the production areas could help increase the number of cattle sent to the BMC.

He however, expressed hope that they would receive a good number of cattle this year. For his part, BMC general marketing manager, Mr Sonny Molapisi advised cattle owners to desist from branding their cattle with many marks on their skin, saying the marks had negative influence on marketing of such hides.

Mr Molapisi said one of the reasons contributed to the closure of the BMC tannery was the low quality of skins submitted, saying 50 per cent of BMC hides were third grades.

He advised Batswana farmers to change the type of branding and switch a type that would not affect the skin of the animal. He said these would increase profit that BMC would make out of every animal.

In response, Kgalagadi South farmers called on BMC to award bonuses to entice farmers to heed their call.

They told the officials that BMC made profit last year and wondered why it was not awarding bonuses to farmers.

They said other reason that discouraged them to sent their cattle to the BMC was lack of transport and roads to their ranches.

They said obtaining a permit to transport cattle to BMC was also a problem because it takes a long time to get it and urged concerned parties to always ensure that they help them in time without delays.

Responding to the bonus issue, Dr Raborokgwe told them that BMC did not award bonuses to farmers because from 2003 it had been recording losses and it was trying to cover up for years which it did not do well.

He also told them that BMCs main focus was to slaughter cattle and not to transport them, adding that they did not have experience or knowledge of transporting cattle.

He urged the farmers to use private transport companies to transport their cattle.

 

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