Farmers in Ngamiland have for the most part applauded the decision by the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) to cushion their quarantine transport costs and the increment of their cattle buying prices, noting that such developments will help sustain the beef industry.
But some of the farmers believe that the commission should have covered all their transportation costs all the way to the abattoirs arguing that it is still expensive for them to transport cattle to some of the quarantines.
To ensure consistency in the supply of beef while at the same time leaving reasonable costs for farmers, BMC has recently announced that it will pay for farmers’ transport costs from only quarantines within the red zone, as well as selected buying points from the green zone to the abattoirs.
BMC has also announced that the increment of prices for the European Union market and other markets is P3.00/KG with immediate effect from the old price of P28/KG to the new price of P31/KG.
The developments have since brought smiles to Ngamiland farmers who have for many years been urging government to improve the conditions affecting the beef industry for it to sustain and improve their livelihoods.
North West Integrated Farmers Association (NWIFA) Chairman, Mod Masedi said they have been advocating for the increment of BMC buying prices for the past 12 years urging the government to subsidise the industry. He stated that the increment of buying prices by the commission will empower farmers and motivate them to take the industry seriously.
“We really appreciate government for the changes that have been implemented because the cattle industry plays a very important role in developing the economy of this country, we were deprived because it was not profitable but was just spending time and money,” said Masedi.
Masedi added that with the new prices they will now be able to sustain the meat industry, create employment opportunities, allow for farmers to be self-sufficient and even export beef.
He noted that there are some youth who were funded for cattle farming through Youth Development Fund (YDF) but lost interest because of the conditions that affected the industry. With the new developments, Masedi is now confident that the same youth will be motivated to venture into cattle farming.
Haina Veld Farmers Association Chairman, Tiro Modisaemang applauded that the newly introduced prices will boost their returns as they will now be able to develop their ranches by constructing suitable infrastructure.
He added that better infrastructure will enable compliance with the Department of Veterinary Services and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) standards.
Modisaemang is of the view that the entity made great improvements by offering free transport from quarantines to the abattoirs because their fuel expenses will reduce. Modisaemang has also appreciated the government for having consulted them on matters affecting the Ngamiland farming industry and for adhering to their concerns.
Nhabe Agricultural Management Association (NAMA) Secretary, Hureva Tjavanga also appreciated the move by government especially on the increment of buying prices, adding it is a recipe for success for farmers.
Though he appreciated transportation of cattle from quarantine to BMC abattoirs Tjavanga has however urged government to rather consider covering all the transport costs from the cattle ranches.
Meanwhile Ngamiland Agricultural Association Treasurer, Charles Madisa has however noted that their wish as farmers regarding the subsidy is that the entity should have covered all transport costs because it is still expensive for them to transport cattle to Makalamabedi quarantine. He highlighted that as farmers they have resolved to establish private quarantines nearer to the market place to avoid costs.