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Bright Future Ahead for Botswana Beef

10 November 2008

BOTSWANA - Botswana's beef sector has a bright future which could be fruitful if the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) does not lower its prices.

Botswana Cattle Producers Association (BCPA) chairperson Mr Philip Fisher expressed hope that BMC would continue to pay the amount it had been paying, while killing animals only for the local market.

Following the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in Ghanzi area, all abattoirs and slaughter houses in the country were closed with immediate effect, and this week however they re-opened but exports remain banned.

Mr Fisher is the Executive Chairman of The Hurvitz Group, the largest supplier of cattle to the Lobatse BMC.

Through its feedlot at Lobatse Estates, the company sells cattle to the abattoir but the moratorium placed on the movement of animals and closure of the abattoir resulted with additional costs as they had to feed an extra 4 000 cattle which could have been sold to the BMC.

He said any changes at the BMC would affect the operations of the feedlot system.

He praised President Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama for the support he gave to the local farmers during their most difficult days, saying the president enlisted the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) who patrolled the area to ensure the disease was contained.

Mr Fisher said the Director of Veterinary Services Dr Moetapele Letshwenyo was also supportive, saying he was always available to assist farmers. He said the government had demonstrated its support of the beef industry, saying a case in point was the signatory to the Economic Partnership Areement (EPA) which allowed duty free and quota free exports to the European Union markets. About the P1500 compensation for each beast, Mr Fisher said the government did not have time to evaluate each animal before it was destroyed.

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