President Mokgweetsi Masisi says government is committed to ensuring that payment delays and problems bedeviling Botswana Meat Commission are resolved. Speaking during Ghanzi Agricultural District Show on July 6, President Masisi said government was well aware of the short comings at BMC regarding payments to farmers, noting that the BMC and the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security had been directed to come up with solutions in the quickest possible time to reduce delays in payments.
He pointed out that government had already commenced the transformation of the BMC with the view to reducing government stake in the commission. However, he said government would retain Maun abattoir.
“In the not so distant future we will finalise the restructuring of the BMC in realising a sustainable future for farmers and meat producers,” he said.
He encouraged farmers to register their communal land holdings to qualify to sell their livestock to the European market through the BMC.
The President expressed delight at the opportunity to officiate at the show held under the theme: Sustainable, Economic, Diversification Beyond 50 Years Through Green Technology, saying he was confident that agriculture was one of the key sectors that would lead the country’s economic transformation.
He said the theme was consistent with government’ efforts of diversifying the economy. President Masisi applauded Ghanzi farmers sayig through their hard work, they had branded the district the beef capital of Botswana and a significant area of beef development in Africa.
Furthermore, he pointed out that the show presented among other advantages, a perfect platform for farmers to gauge their products for the global market and a chance to network. Kgosi Botshelo Lekgothu of Ghanzi pleaded with the President to pay attention to prices BMC offered farmers.
Kgosi Lekgothu said prices were too little though farmers put in a lot of work in making sure they produced quality product. He said prices should be reviewed for farmers to get value for their hard work. One farmer said they were deeply concerned about the state of the commission which was not pleasing and called for the decentralisation of the beef industry to enable it to go back to its glory days of being the pillar of the country’s economy.
In an effort to educate Batswana about its products and services, Botswana Meat Commission exhibited at the Serowe District Show which was held from the 08-11 August 2018. This year’s event was held under the theme “Commercialising Agriculture”. He warned Batswana farmers that despite a myriad of procedures and protocols from the EU market, Botswana as the supplier of beef should comply to the demands, lest the country loses out on the rewarding business. President Masisi further stated that the government is working on fixing the challenges that Botswana Meat Commission(BMC) is facing.
President Masisi emphasized that the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security as well as the National Strategic Office are working together to address all the issues. He said BMC is too important for the economy to die.