The Maun Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) plant continues to struggle to secure international market for beef. The Livestock Procurement Officer in Maun Poelelo Serole told Ngamiland Sustainable Land Management forum in Maun this week that several factors were contributing to their predicament. One of those is the frequent outbreak of prolonged Foot and Mouth diseases which often leads to suspension of selling their beef to the European Union market. He revealed that in August they secured a market at Mozambique and Vietnam. “We have an order from Mozambique and the other from Vietnam. We are waiting for them to come again for another load,” he said. Serole also indicated that in most cases countries would come for the first load and but they never come back again. “We have a problem of securing a market as most of the interested parties never came back,” he regretted.
Last year they had established a lucrative market for beef exports to Angola but Namibia was a stumbling block as it shut its borders to avoid the risks of FMD. “Namibia did not allow our meat to pass through their borders as they fear the FMD from Ngamiland cattle might spread in their country,” he said. Meanwhile some farmers who attended the meeting were not amused, saying BMC should forget about the EU market because they cannot sell to EU as long as there is outbreak of FMD in the region. “We must forget about the EU market and the eradication of FMD because they are impossible we must focus on exploiting other markets in the world,” a frustrated farmer said.
Farmers have also called for the de-monopolisation of BMC so that it competes with other players to improve the beef sector. Farmers said if there were other players in the market BMC would be aggressive in searching for other alternatives market around the world. Dr Bonolo Sedupelela from Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) said the only solution for Ngamiland beef is the Commodity-based trade CBT since it has been accepted at World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE). She explained that CBT approaches focus on attributes of a product such as quality and safety rather than the disease status of its place of origin.