- The model was used for many years and was effective
In its concerted efforts to combat rampant stock theft, the Umbrella Farmers Committee covering Sehithwa, Toteng, Tsau, Semboyo, Bodibeng, Kareng, Bothatogo and cattle posts in the catchment areas have since resorted to adopting the olden livestock market model where cattle are sold publicly at the Kgotla.
The practice, in existence since the 1970s where any livestock trade was conducted at the Kgotla was abandoned in the recent years.
Stock theft has led to government re-introducing operation Kgomo Khumo in April 2022 which mainly focuses on livestock theft across the country. Though the operation was said to be bearing fruits, cattle rustlers continued to find their way in stealing livestock.
Speaking during the farmers and cattle buyers’ consultative meeting in Maun this week, the committee chairperson Lekopanye Ledimo revealed that going forward, cattle will be sold at Kgotla crushes which have since been renovated.
Ledimo believes livestock sales in an open market place on fixed days will reduce stock theft as it will also make it easy for the police to monitor, inspect and register such sales.
Ledimo indicated that they are currently engaging with farmers and various stakeholders including the police, community members and the butchery operators across the region on the initiative.
He indicated that the sale will be done in one village at a time, with each village given two days go where each village will be given two days to trade. He further noted that the livestock will be sold at a fixed price adding that cattle will only be sold live to the buyer who will then pay cash to the farmer.
“Live cattle will be sold at 20/Kg, Goat 30/Kg, Sheep 37/Kg, donkey P1800 and a horse at P5000,” Ledimo stressed.
He emphasised that the costs which farmers incurred transporting cattle to the abattoir and paying for slaughtering of the cattle will be the buyer’s responsibility as the latter and farmer’s business ends at the market place once the cattle have been paid for.
Meanwhile Ledimo has expressed disappointment at the lack of cooperation on combating stock theft by butchery owners and other retailers in the meat business as they fail to turn up when invited for consultative meetings.
“In November 2021 we held a similar consultative meeting as this one in Sehithwa and none of the owners showed up leading to the postponement of the meeting. Today, only two butchery owners have showed up to this meeting despite our attempts to invite all of them,” Ledimo said.
For his part, District No.5 Deputy Officer Commanding Superintendent Molefhe Molefhe applauded the committee’s initiative to create a market place indicating that in the 70’s they had few to zero stock theft cases. Molefhe believes that the initiative will go a long was in the reduction of stock theft.
In 2021 the police recorded a total of 42 stock theft cases in Sehithwa and its catchment areas involving 119 cattle valued at P357 000 00. He revealed that only 99 of the cattle were recovered.
“In 2022 we recorded 35 cases in those areas out of which 57 cattle valued at P171 000 00 were stolen, fortunately all the 57 cattle were recovered. We also recorded cases of 3 donkeys, 10 horses and 22 goats stolen,” Molefhe noted.
He revealed that for the first three months of 2023 they have recorded a total of 5 cases of stock theft involving 11 cattle.
Molefhe indicated that the statistics do not accurately represent the true scenarios on the ground as some cases go unreported.
He has since urged farmers to ensure that they brand and put ear tags on their calves as soon as they are mature enough, cautioning that thieves now target unbranded and untagged cattle since they are not traceable.