The Minister of Agriculture Patrick Ralotsia has dismissed suggestions that Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) should be privatised to improve its performance. BMC CEO Dr Akolang Tombale recently requested government to consider privatising the Maun and Francistown when presenting before a Parliamentary Committee for Statutory Bodies. Dr Tombale said the financial problems currently besieging state-owned BMC can be solved by privatizing it, singling out Maun and Francistown abbatoirs for such. He said the two were operating on social welfare basis, resulting with huge losses.
But when responding a question from Councillor Botshelo Mapa of Sepopa/Ikoga in Maun council meeting Ralotsia said it does not mean that if both plants are not making profit they are not viable projects. “The government has taken the responsibility of helping farmers and non-performance of the BMC does not guarantee a closure,” Ralotsia said. Councillors have decried of lack of market for their beef pleading with the minister to source market for Ngamiland farmers. They complained that lack of market has affected poor farmers as they are reliant on cattle.
Meanwhile, the director of Veterinary Services, Dr Letlhogile Modisa also told councillors that they are promising new market prospects for Maun abbattoir. He said this follows fruitful negotiations between Botswana and South Africa as they have shown interest on the commodity base trade. He said negotiations have started with South Africa and a trip has been proposed to inspect and ensure compliance of the abattoir in issues such as animal health control and audit. South Africa has been the sole buyer of Ngamiland beef and the export was stopped after the recent Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak.