Bulls semen will rot in Ramatlabama – Dow

Dow said Batswana will not buy the semen PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Dow said Batswana will not buy the semen PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

Despite President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) revelation that 49% of the purchased bulls’ semen was bought by farmers in the financial year 2022/23, Specially Elected Member of Parliament (SEMP), Unity Dow, says the semen currently sold at Ramatlabama Artificial Insemination lab will rot because Batswana are not interested in buying it.

Dow, who was responding to the SONA in Parliament on Wednesday, said MPs and ministers are the only ones who are going to buy the semen. The semen issue stirred controversy last month when it was revealed that Masisi and his elite entourage, including ministers and senior officials, will have the exclusive opportunity to buy bull semen at the Ramatlabama. Masisi later clarified that indeed he had forced ministers to purchase the bull semen and that defiant ministers could face consequences, potentially losing their positions. Dow said Batswana will not buy the semen and as a result ministers will this time around be forced to sell semen on the side of the road. She said it is very clear that there is no much interest in buying semen because people do not have cattle. Dow, who also revealed that she has joined Botswana Congress Party (BCP), said people should not be emotional when it comes to the national herd issue and let their minds be clouded. “Yes we have an emotional attachment to cattle but as a business enterprise, people have not been buying the semen that was already there before the government even bought semen from France and America,” she said.

Dow said increasing the existing semen by buying additional from other countries will not encourage or compel Batswana to buy bull semen. She also said people no longer rear cattle like their forefathers used to. Dow pointed out that it is never easy to set priorities but when one rationally and reasonably looks at the purchase of the Texas bulls, it was costly because the herd needs feed, security, medical attention and many others. She said she does not understand which section of the society Masisi is trying to uplift by buying bulls. Dow indicated that subsistence farming over the years has become so expensive, therefore the Masisi bulls are not going to benefit anyone. She said if she were in Masisi’s position, she would not have bought the elite cattle breed together with the semen. Dow said Masisi and his government talk about the semen purchase as if it is a new thing. “When you have national priorities, you ask yourself what will move the deal. Semen has been sold along the A1 Dibete road for a very long time; it just that it is underutilised. Private farmers buy semen from outside so it is not a new thing. This semen and making a big case out of it by bossing, forcing and encouraging ministers to buy it as if it is a viable project is just laughable,” she expressed.

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