Ngamiland farmers have welcomed the decision by Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) to increase the cattle buying price, saying it will boost the beef industry. They said although they had hoped BMC would increase prices to P33/kg they accept the new price at P26/kg.
BMC spokesperson, Brian Dioka said the increase is a subsidy from the government as a response to the current drought. He said BMC has increased the cattle buying price to P37/kg (a 9% increase) for European Union (EU) market and P26/kg (15% increase) for other markets, to encourage farmers to sell more cattle. The increase is good news to Ngamiland farmers, who are in the red zone, as their cattle prices are now equivalent to those of green zones. Maun BMC has been buying cattle at P19.50/kg but after the reintroduction of quarantine the prices were increased to P23/kg, with the latest increase reaching P26 pula/kg. The new prices will be continue until November.
Dioka encouraged Ngamiland farmers to take advantage of the increase and sell their cattle in numbers to reduce the risk of losing them to the drought. Cattle from Ngamiland will be kept in quarantines for 30 days, following Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) protocols, before they are slaughtered at Maun abbattoir, which is currently exporting beef to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mozambique. “We also sell the beef to the local market,” he said, adding that previously the abattoir had secured markets in Kuwait and Vietnam but the two countries pulled out of the deal due to the resurgent Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the area.
Dioka assured farmers that they will be paid on time within 14 days, unlike in the past when they were paid in excess of 30 days. By 2020 BMC targets to have reduced the turnaround time to seven days and 48 hours by 2021. The newly introduced payment strategy for the period 2019 to 2021 is known as Kgomo ya Mahisa.
The Secretary for Ngamiland Agricultural Management Association (NAMA), Tjavanga Hureva said the development is a positive gesture that will benefit farmers. “We encourage farmers to take advantage of this development,” he said.