The Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) has set its sights on Ngamiland District as a key player in the revitalisation of Botswana’s meat industry.
Speaking in Maun last week, SEZA acting Director of Policy and Planning, Jayson Sechele said Ngamiland has one of the largest populations of cattle, goats and sheep in the country. Therefore, he said the region was a key contributor to Botswana’s meat industry. Currently, independent abattoirs in the region are slaughtering cattle to supply the local market and export to countries like Gabon, Mozambique, Kuwait and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“According to the 2015 agriculture census, Ngamiland East had 94,300 cattle and 61,332 goats; while Ngamiland West accounted for 95,887 cattle and 41,427 goats. This is more than 15% and 10% of the national cattle and goats herd respectively. Therefore, there is no doubt that Ngamiland is a strong contributor to Botswana’s meat industry that must be revitalised to diversify the economy, increase export revenue and facilitate further beneficiation,” Sechele said.
To that end, SEZA is looking to establish Ngamiland as a livestock and small stock farming area that will feed into the Lobatse meat and leather special economic zone. This is as Botswana moves towards exploiting the national meat industry value chain. Establishing Ngamiland as a cluster would enable SEZA to put in place measures that will increase livestock throughput to ensure that market demand in the area is satisfied. Further, SEZA will exploit opportunities for canning and processing to ensure further beneficiation.
“For example, hides from Ngamiland can be further processed into seats, handbags, shoes and other leather products at the Lobatse leather park. This will retain jobs in our country because at the moment we export leather unprocessed to South Africa,” Sechele said.
The declaration of Ngamiland as a cluster under SEZA will also unlock opportunities for infrastructure development like administration facilities, fences, paddocks, fire breakers and roads. With heightened meat production in Ngamiland, other support services like transport and logistics, fodder production and animal husbandry would follow naturally.
The SEZ Act No. 13 of 2015 empowers the authority to cluster business enterprises in order to achieve inter-sectoral linkages and economies of agglomeration.