MAUN: The Maun abattoir is looking to increase cattle slaughter by about 31% during 2017, despite challenging operating circumstances.
Last year, the abattoir, which is owned by the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC), failed to reach its desired target.
The abattoir’s procurement officer, Poelelo Serole told North West District councillors recently that the Maun abattoir plans to slaughter 29,160 cattle at a kill rate of 120 cattle per day in 2017.
He said the recurrence of the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), drought and lack of market for their product continue to destabilise the abattoir.
According to Serole, in 2016 the plant slaughtered a total of 20,040 cattle against a target of 25,000, a shortfall he attributed to severe water shortage.
“This year we set a target of slaughtering 29,160 cattle at a kill rate of 120 animals per day,” he said.
He said since January this year, a total of 17,383 cattle had been killed, which is almost halfway to the target they set at the end of the year.
Serole added that production tonnage at the end of the year will be 6,000.
Meanwhile, he acknowledged that the live cattle trade between BMC and Zimbabwean Cold Storage has been stopped to date as the Zimbabwean company failed to honour its part of the bargain.
“The condition of the trade was that our partner should pay upfront. This meant that animals could only be sent as and when the payment had been received,” Serole said.
He reiterated that the abattoir’s main market since it reopened in 2010 has been the cannery. The cannery allowed the abattoir to penetrate the nationwide market and currently 80% of the abattoir produce is sold locally.
He said this forced them to sell at a price that attracts customers to come to Maun to buy meat from as far as Gaborone.
He explained that due to lack of markets, there is a possibility of overflowing the local market with their product. He said internationally, they got some orders from countries such as Vietnam, Kuwait and Mozambique.
Speaking during a consultative meeting at the Maun Lodge this year, the Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security Patrick Ralotsia said the Maun abattoir will be maintained under BMC as a social project.
In the same meeting, Ralotsia explained that government was considering 50/50 partnership between government and private sector for the Lobatse abattoir and whole privatisation of the Francistown abattoir.