Due to past frequent outbreaks of the Food and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Ngamiland, beef produced from the region has for the longest period been struggling in the market space as its origin is a red zone.
This scenario has since negatively affected the sale of the beef to the disadvantage of farmers despite the beef having been confirmed 100% safe for consumption. This as the cattle from the region go through a mandatory 30-day quarantine process before slaughter.
This was said by the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) Executive Manager for livestock procurement, Kenneth Makubate who emphasised the need to re-brand Ngamiland beef to help deal with the negative attitude towards it by markets.
Speaking at a farmers’ seminar held in Maun this week, Makubate stressed that there is a huge beef market in the SADC region which through re-branding Ngamiland beef can penetrate.
“For the longest time Ngamiland has been branded as red zone, but this beef has been approved by the competition authority and as retailers we also need to change how we view it. We should do away with the red zone meat brand and rather label it as Botswana beef,” Makubate said.
According to him, there is a concern that some retailers use this notion to their advantage saying all negative things about the Ngamiland beef so that they buy it cheap but thereafter sell it at a price equal to beef from other zones.
He revealed that as the commission they have also since the last quarter of 2020 took a decision to rebrand the Ngamiland beef from being Maun beef to BMC beef so as to deal away with all the perceptions about the beef coming from the region. Makubate noted that the Ngamiland beef, besides the EU market is sold everywhere including prime areas in Gaborone such as Phakalane.
“Let us be aggressive in rebranding the beef from here because there is need to deal away with the notion that it is from a red zone. This beef is grass fed and to be honest it tastes far much good than those from other zones” he stressed noting that by rebranding, the beef will fetch a better price.
A farmer from Mmashoro ranches Pascar Proctor who shared the same sentiments was however of the view that farmers should be responsible for their own re-branding instead of BMC as suggested by others emphasising that this will avoid monopolising the industry.
“If Ngamiland farmers allow BMC to re-brand their beef the commission will tailor make the brand for their own benefit and monopolise the beef industry,” Proctor advised.
He further emphasised that BMC should make it open to beef traders across the country that Ngamiland beef can enter green zones if the cattle followed the right procedure. He indicated that by so doing Ngamiland beef will have more markets.
“As we go for the festive season beef prices goes up because there is high demand, so if traders are aware of the Ngamiland beef they will be able to meet beef demand in the country,” Proctor said.