Mmegi Online :: Destock, Ralotsia urges as drought deepens
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Last Updated
Thursday 25 April 2019, 09:27 am.
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Destock, Ralotsia urges as drought deepens

Agricultural Development and Food Security minister, Patrick Ralotsia says farmers should take their animals for slaughter now, as the deepening drought means the value of livestock is declining quickly.
By Mbongeni Mguni Tue 02 Apr 2019, 16:04 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Destock, Ralotsia urges as drought deepens








Addressing journalists earlier today, Ralotsia said the Botswana Meat Commission was experiencing very low throughput, despite the fact that droughts naturally push farmers to destock. He pledged that with government’s help, the troubled parastatal would settle outstanding arrears for all farmers either by this Friday or by next Wednesday at the latest. 

With the erratic and low rainfall this season, pastures around the country have been depleted and farmers in some areas such as southern Kgalagadi have already reported livestock mortalities.

“Little by little, people are realising that these animals are ‘money’.

“We should not allow money to be burnt in the sun. We must save it by taking livestock to abattoirs and reducing their numbers so that they help us take care of those that remain behind.

“This message is critical and we are taking it to farmers to say let’s salvage the situation.

“Even though

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it’s bad, we can still see some value here,” he said.

Ralotsia said the country had approximately 2.1 million cattle and these were facing starvation “as a result of the low rainfall received and inadequate grazing”.

Government, meanwhile, has decided to extend the 25% subsidy on livestock feed and supplements, which was initially due to run from December 10, 2018 to March 31, 2019. Ralotsia revealed that the subsidy has been extended to June 30 in order to support farmers.

“There has been inadequate rainfall and consequently the grazing has not improved sufficiently to support livestock,” he said.

Botswana has experienced rolling droughts since the 2014/15 season, broken only by Cyclone Dineo in 2017. The droughts, induced by the El Nino weather phenomenon, have devastated agricultural activities, plunging farmers in debt, while forcing government to fork out increasing amounts in drought relief annually.

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