Gantsi farmers decry beef export suspension

SHARE   |   Monday, 18 April 2016   |   By Solomon Tjinyeka

Gantsi Farmers Association members have expressed concern about the suspension of beef export to European Union (EU) and other trading partners following the buffalo incursion at Moreane crush of Letlhakane East in the Southern District. Farmers said they are affected as main suppliers of beef to the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC). They say their businesses are running at a loss, warning that the beef industry is doomed to fail. Gantsi Farmers Association’s representative France Kanguaiko said, “There is no business here. Gantsi farmers are the main suppliers of beef to the Southern district including some businesses in Gaborone”. They supply major meat retailers like Senn Foods. He also decried that soon the southern part of the country will soon be run out of beef. “In Gantsi we can sell our meat but most of our market is in the south, and this will affect us”, he said.

Kanguaiko also expressed fears since they are not going to selling cattle to BMC it will collapse as they (Gantsi) farmers supply 40 percent of beef to the parastatal. “This will have bad consequences on individuals’ life and the economy of the country,” he decried. He was worried about the possibility of outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the affected areas. “The beef industry is doomed to fail and this will have negative impact on the lives of ordinary people and the country at large,” hit out Kanguaiko. Kanguaiko said as Gantsi farmers they blame the government for failing to maintain veterinary fences. He said they have written several letters to the Ministry of Agriculture complaining about the state of veterinary fences this year. Kanguaiko said the fence that connects Gantsi and Ngamiland – Kuke fence along Qabo – has been in bad state for a long time. One of the farmers, he said, even proposed to maintain the fence but government has not taken that offer yet. Although they still don’t know where the buffalo came from, he said they did not rule out the possibility that it might come from Ngamiland. “We suspects that the buffalo may have come from Ngamiland because cordon fences have been in bad state for a long time,” he said.