Farmer sues BMC for breach of contract

BMC is struggling to produce enough cattle for slaughter
BMC is struggling to produce enough cattle for slaughter

FRANCISTOWN: A businessman has taken the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) to court for allegedly failing to honour a cattle feedlot programme.

The applicant, David Givens, owner of Northern Ranchers, said that in 2009 BMC told him that it was looking for farmers in the northern part of the country who were interested in developing feedlots in order to supply the Francistown abattoir.

Givens said that he then purchased land and began developing it in accordance with the specifications he was given by former BMC general manager of livestock procurement, Clive Marshall.

Givens said that under his agreement with BMC, the latter was supposed to supply him with 3,000 cattle that he was supposed to feed at his feedlot to prepare them for slaughter at the abattoir.

“I was told by Marshall that the feedlot programme was a profitable project. He also said that the programme was going to create jobs for people in the northern part of the country. I expressed my reservations about the programme and Marshall allayed those fears saying that he would help me in order for the programme to succeed,” said Givens.

He added that Marshall gave him relevant documentation about the feedlot programme.

Givens said Marshall demanded that the feedlot programme comply with the tracking system of the EU. Realising that the business was going to be profitable, he said he raised money for the project and in November 2009 he signed a contract with BMC.

“The contract exclusively said that BMC was going to supply me with 3,000 cattle and I was going to look after them for sometime before selling them to BMC to sell at the EU,” said Givens.

Givens said that in terms of the contract BMC also had to give him P650,000 for feeding the cattle adding that he did not receive any cattle from BMC but was incurring about P53,000 per month for maintaining his feedlot and other logistics but the BMC had not supplied the promised cattle.

“I was frustrated and then contacted Marshall enquiring about when he would honour his part of the contract. I then also wrote a letter to the former BMC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), David Falepau, expressing my frustrations asking him to help me get the cattle in order to optimally operate the feedlot. About a month later I received an email from Marshall informing me that my request had been turned down because BMC was experiencing some financial problems,” said Givens.

Givens said that he turned down Marshal’s offer in January 2011 to receive 100 cattle from BMC as the number was not enough to run a viable and profitable feedlot.

He said that he engaged the CEO who apologised and promised to rectify the problem.

“In December 2011 I raised P2 million as loan from the bank in order to raise the dead programme. Falepau told me to put my request in writing, which I did. Two weeks later, I heard that Falepau was fired by BMC,” said a frustrated Givens adding that in the following months Marshall was also fired by BMC.

Givens said that he was left with no option but to start legal proceedings against BMC for the dire situation they have put him in.

Advocate Luc Spiller who was instructed by Collins and Newman represents BMC. The case continues.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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