In its decision to commercialise Botswana Meat Commission (BMC), government has opted to retain the Maun Abattoir as a government entity.
The Minister of Agricultural Production and Food Security, Patrick Ralotsia announced the move in a statement presented to Parliament this week.
Ralotsia announced that following recommendations from inclusive consultations with stakeholders, government has agreed to convert BMC to a limited liability company and commercialise it to achieve operational efficiencies.
Although the minister could not shed light on how much stake government would part with in relation to the Lobatse and the Francistown abattoirs, he stated that farmers’ legal entities and government would own the abattoir.
He said the profit from the entities would be ploughed back to the farmers.
“The Maun abattoir will be retained as a government, and be supported with an annual budget. This step is meant to ensure a market for cattle in Ngamiland and to guard against the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) into the green zones. Such support can be reviewed and commercialisation be explored once the FMD status in the district has been improved on a sustained basis,” he said.
Ralotsia further stated that there would be a review of the relevant legislative instruments relating to the livestock and meat industry with a view to creating an appropriate regulatory framework.
Moreover, he said that the transformation would be treated with due diligence and caution to safeguard the interests of government and public in the beef industry.
Still in Parliament, Ralotsia disclosed that they are currently in trade negotiations with European Free Trade Association Member States under the auspices of SACU AFTA Trade Agreement with a view to increasing the beef quota to Norway.
The aim of the negotiations, he said, is to consolidate market access for Botswana beef, as well as, to simplify quota administration processes in Norway to ease implicit cost on the country’s beef exports.
Meanwhile, he has proposed an allocation of P1,337,706,920 under the recurrent budget and the sum of P1,095,120,000 under the development estimates for the 2018-2019 for his ministry.