Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) is in talks over possible beef export to Russia and the US, in addition to advanced negotiations to export to China.
The BMC sales and marketing manager Mr Tshepo Modise explained this recently, pointing that they were constantly looking to find more export market opportunities for Botswana beef.
The official was briefing a delegation from the UK Commonwealth Parliament Association (CPA), which was in Lobatse to learn about operations at BMC.
“We are currently in dialogue with the People’s Republic of China, Russia and the United States to establish protocols to be able to trade to those markets as well,” Mr Modise said.
He said BMC at the moment was exporting beef to EU member states, together with Norway, South Africa, Mozambique, Angola and Mauritius.
He added that BMC in 2018 supplied 7 500 tonnes of beef to the EU and 1 600 tonnes to Norway, which remained the commission’s most lucrative markets.
However, the official pointed that shortage in the supply of cattle by farmers to BMC was causing its abattoirs to operate below their daily slaughter capacity.
“We closed the Francistown plant a year and half ago to try and increase the capacity percentage in Lobatse because the costs were high, but we were not getting enough profit on both of them,” he said.
He said the Lobatse abattoir at the moment operated at around 65 per cent of its 650 cattle per day slaughter capacity.
The CPA UK head of delegation, Ms Joyce Anelay said they came here to build on the friendship between parliaments of Botswana and the UK.
“This week we had an opportunity to learn how the whole of Botswana work together as an agriculture country,” she said.
The Botswana CPA chairperson, Mr Pono Moatlhodi expressed concern at the dwindling statistics of cattle slaughtered daily by BMC.
“We shall plead with all the powers to ensure that we resort to old ways of ensuring that BMC serves its real purpose.
We shall plead with all stakeholders to ensure and realise that this is a Botswana project that we all as Batswana have to support.
It is the pride of the country and we will work day and night to ensure that the Francistown abattoir as well as the Maun abattoir are opened,” Mr Moatlhodi said.
He said the closure of those two abattoirs caused employment losses to some, which should not be allowed to continue.