MORALE: The Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) livestock procurement manager, Galenyatsege Bathuseng left farmers of Morale Bonwathothe in the Mahalapye area shell-shocked with the statistics of measles in the region and advised co-operatives could provide redress to vast farming challenges.
Bathuseng was speaking at Morale Bonwathothe Farmers Trust consultative meeting held in Morale on Friday. He said the number of cattle with measles from the Mahalapye area has been rising during the past five years.
In 2014, he said they recorded 278 cattle with measles from the area. The number rose to 371 in 2015 and to 805 in 2016. It dropped slightly to 600 in 2017 and this year the numbers are already at 510.
“Others are more affected that we burn them and pay out P150 and it usually doesn’t go well with our farmers. We have specific market requirements and this affect the output,” he said, encouraging farmers to set up clusters and register co-operatives to help each other improve the value of the animals they sell to BMC.
“Abattoirs ran effectively with co-ops in the past and we need to retrace, it has become a market requirement that farmers register their feedlots, grazing areas, kraals and so forth and that would be easy when farmers work together in clusters.”
The farmers decried the uncontrolled sewerage water that contaminates their river. They said waste from the highway users contributes to the endemic measles in their area. Donald Dithasane reckoned the statistics are
“If these statistics are for the cattle we have sold to BMC only then it means we are herding cattle without value that is also a health hazard.
This is a similar disaster to HIV and AIDS and maybe the government should come on board and assist farmers to find the remedy, otherwise, this will persist.” Slumber Badubi of the Ministry of Agriculture also reiterated the significance of farming syndicates. He said government initiatives are easily accessible through the clusters.
Badubi applauded Morale Bonwathothe farmers for establishing a registered trust and encouraged them to get into contract farming to complement each other. He said the collaboration of farmers could assist them to fence close their area and control blot issues such as measles and stock theft. The trust had converged a consultative meeting to address and seek information from different authorities on issues of developments that affect their farming areas.
The gathering also sought to understand markets needs, to seek partnerships and find solutions to safety to highway users and animals, to foster relationships with the law enforcers to help address stock theft and find health solutions for the livestock.