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In an effort to improve the beef industry in Botswana, government has come up with the farmers’ equity participation strategy that would allow local farmers to invest with the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC).
Through the strategy farmers will have an opportunity to buy and sell BMC shares.
This was revealed by the Minister of Entrepreneurship Karabo Gare when responding to a question in Ntlo Ya Dikgosi recently. Kgosi Tjakazo Munduu of Ngami had requested for government to consider increasing BMC buying prices arguing that they are now almost at par with those offered by butcheries. The increase he said will enable farmers to continue supporting BMC, based on attractive prices.
In response, Gare stated that the BMC is facing some financial challenges hence it is not profitable, adding that government has come up with some strategies that would enable the farmers to benefit more from their cattle. He said that the commission will partner with different investors, structure and implement the equity participation strategy.
“The intention of the strategy is not to sell the BMC to the investors, but to make the entity profitable so that it can benefit all of us,” said Gare.
Gare added that the minister of Agriculture recently took a trip to Europe to revitalize and optimize beef-exports relations with the European trade region. He noted that during the trip the minister was able to engage the beef importers and negotiate on issues of selling prices and other ways of adding value to the market price.
Gare explained that the BMC intends to strategically penetrate the retail segment of that market by exporting the branded retail ready beef packs that would enhance profitability.
He revealed that the BMC will continue increasing the prices with the little they can as they did recently noting that they are aware of the challenges facing the cattle farmers.
Gare stated that one of their intentions is to identify a niche market that would allow the entity to sell the beef at a higher price. According to him, this will also give the local farmers an opportunity to sell their cattle to the BMC at higher price as the entity will be making profit.
Meanwhile Kgosi Munduu argued that farmers have turned their back on BMC and instead sell their cattle to butcheries because the prices are almost the same. He said that the BMC should be in position to compete with the butcheries by buying the cattle from farmers at better rates. Munduu is of the view that the other reason farmers prefer to sell to butcheries is because butcheries paid them on time, as compared to the BMC which usually delays payments.