FRANCISTOWN: Business Botswana (BB) has urged farmers to join associations that can effectively advocate for their rights, regional manager, Eileen Van Der Est said.
When addressing farmers during their consultative meeting in Francistown recently, the BB regional manager said that farmers’ associations could benefit from affiliating with the business arm through its networks.
“Through BB’s agricultural sector we have the capacity and expertise to effectively advocate for your interest through various platforms and forums that we regularly participate in,” Van Der Est said.
She noted that if farmers’ associations are not affiliated to strong institutions such as BB, their voices (farmers) would not be heard. As a result, she said government and policymakers would have less information that can help serve the interests of the farmers.
The regional manager made the call after some farmers complained that they were not properly engaged when the government took a decision to
The BMC Francistown abattoir closed its doors late last year and since then farmers have bemoaned that they have been struggling to make ends meet. Currently the BMC Lobatse and Maun abattoirs remain operational.
Farmers in the North are eligible to sell their cattle in Lobatse, but they have said that they are unable to do so because it involves a bureaucratic process and that transport costs are high.
“The Botswana National Beef Producers Union (BNBPU) has also let us down. It does not serve our interest,” Patrick Mazwiduma, one of the farmers who organised the meeting, said.
Farmers also said that they fear that the privatisation of BMC might benefit the moneyed elite only.