BMC to miss Norway quota on cattle shortages

BMC says it does not have enough cattle to slaughter for the export market
BMC says it does not have enough cattle to slaughter for the export market

LOBATSE: The Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) is likely to fail to supply one of its most lucrative market, Norway with the needed quantity of beef due to reduced availability of slaughter-ready cattle.

Speaking during a tour of Lobatse BMC plant by members of Ntlo ya Dikgosi recently, BMC executive manager in the livestock procurement department, Kenneth Makubate said the abattoir has only 4,000 cattle in the feedlots at the moment but they need to have at least 15,000 slaughter-ready cattle by January in order to meet the beef demands of Norway alone. 

“BMC still continues to spend money on its feedlots. The process is costly and it takes time. Most of the cattle we receive from farmers are mostly not EU {European Union} market compliant. If farmers could register their cattle posts so that they meet EU standards, we will experience an increased intake of slaughter ready cattle. 

“We have entered into an agreement with Norway to supply over 3,110 tonnes of meat per annum, at this point we have 4,000 cattle in our feedlots, but we should be having at least 15,000 by January.   We are highly likely to face challenges to meet the demands of the particular market due to low availability of slaughter-ready animals locally,” he said. 

Makubate further revealed that the BMC has this year experienced a downfall in number of cattle slaughtered for export due to many reasons including heavy rainfall.

By this time of the year, BMC usually would slaughtered 80,000 cattle on average in previous years, but according to Makubate, they have only managed to slaughter 65,096 cattle since January this year.

 “The downfall has also been experienced at the Francistown abattoir where on average 28,000 would be slaughtered at this time of the year, but only 11,000 have been slaughtered so far in Francistown,” he said. 

Makubate further said farmers who supply BMC with slaughter-ready animals get better profits and increases productivity hence he urged farmers to commercialise farming. Meanwhile chair of Ntlo ya Dikgosi Kgosi, Puso Gaborone said it is essential for Dikgosi to be fully aware of the operations of BMC in order for them to give informed advice to the farmers in their districts.

“It is Dikgosi’s responsibility to advise the farmers. We are also leaders of different communities in the country who are the backbone of the beef industry hence it is the responsibility of the chiefs to take the message they learnt from BMC to their communities in our bid to play a role in the success of the BMC and the economy,” Gaborone said.

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