PALAPYE: Farmers have been urged to start treating donkeys as a source of wealth and take advantage of the donkey products, which are believed to be in high demand in the Asian countries.
This was said by Selalelo Mpotokwane of National Food Research Technology Centre (NARFTC) during the donkey awareness workshop held at Botsalo Hotel on Tuesday.
He said that donkey products have in recent years seen a steady increase in popularity. Both its meat and milk have proven to be healthier compared to other animals’ similar products.
However Mpotokwane said Batswana have developed a culture of waiting for foreign investors to make use of their indigenous products generating millions from them while locals sit back because they (Batswana) lack creative minds.
He added: “I therefore warn you not to make the same mistake with donkeys since in the coming years they will be the next source of wealth and as we speak right now, they’ve started generating millions for Asian entrepreneurs who are producing various products made from donkey products such as cosmetics”.
Mpotokwane said donkey meat can be used to make products such as salami, boerewors, chili bites, biltong and others.
He said the another donkey product that is highly rated is its milk, which can be used to produce cheese, bar soap and other cosmetics.
“It is said to be the closest thing to human breast milk. It has precious little fat compared to the cow’s milk and is particularly rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 acids found in oily fish. All this can be taken advantage of by making powdered milk and selling it to mothers to feed their babies instead of powdered milk which is currently used yet allergic to some children.
“Many parents and doctors have found that it’s perfect for children with
Dr John Moreki of the Department of Animal Production at the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) also shared the same sentiments as Mpotokwane. He said that it is time Batswana embraced donkeys just like they do to other livestock because its worth will soon surpass that one of cows.
He said the most expensive product of a donkey is its hide as the global demand for donkey hides is estimated between four to 10 million pula with an estimated minimum of 1.8 million hides traded annually.
“This is an indication that donkeys are in high demand in Asia, especially China where it is used to produce gelatine for medicinal purposes.
Therefore, it is up to us that we do change our mindset towards perceiving a donkey as a mere animal with no value,” he said.
Moreki added that this can all start when donkey owners stop selling donkeys at a very low price, saying that some people even exchange it for a carton of Chibuku (traditional beer).
He said very soon its price will even exceed that of a cow, looking at its demand.
He also urged Batswana to stop being cruel to donkeys as they are not treated like other livestock such as goats, cattle and sheep, for instance.