BMC Maun is scheduled to start production on Wednesday 17th January 2018 after three months of closure due to foot and mouth
disease outbreak. Sakeng team caught up with Maun Plant Manager Mr Oabona Ramotshwara to enquire about the latest developments at the plant and their 2018 production target.
(S.K). Compliments of the new season Sir. Kindly tell us when will Maun abattoir start production?
Production will start on the Wednesday 17th January 2018.
(S.K) How ready are you for 2018 production after such a long?
We have been working around the clock to ensure our readiness for production. Some of our employees, mainly production, hygiene and compliance, started work on 03 January 2018, to come and prepare the plant for production. So we are confident that all the processes are in place to fully start production.
(S.K) What is your production target for this year?
Ans- This year, our target is to slaughter 24,000 cattle.
(S.K) How did the FMD outbreak affect your plant financials and markets?
The outbreak had dire effects on both our financials and markets. We had planned to slaughter 29,160 cattle for 2017, but only ended at 18,860 by the time of the FMD outbreak. This drastically affected our annual output, and reduced our earnings for the year as initially projected. With regard to markets, we have obviously lost traction in all our new and existing markets by our absence. We will have to re-engage both old and new clients for supply, and it will be challenging as we are almost starting as a new entrant in the market due to our four months of no supply.
(S.K) What are the precautionary measures that your plant has put in place as you start 2018 production?
Unfortunately, with FMD, there is very little that the plant can do. Most of the mitigating factors have to be implemented at farm/community level by farmers with the help of the Department of Veterinary Services. As the Plant, we can only emphasize to farmers the importance of continuous vaccination of cattle against FMD as administered by DVS.
(S.K) Are there any guidelines from Department of Veterinary Services that your plant is required to follow as you start the 2018 production?
Yes, we have to do pre-production protocols of cleaning the plant, swabbing and water testing to make sure that the Plant’s Hygiene is at required levels. Hence, we made sure that some of our employees reported for duty earlier than others to take care of all these requirements.
(S.K) Kindly provide an update on your markets and if you have managed to secure new ones.
At this stage, we intend to supply the Botswana market as soon as we start production. We are in contact with our export customers to try and solicit orders from them. We are hopeful that we will win some of these old customers back. New markets will only come at a later stage.
(S.K) How do you keep your staff motivated after having such a terrible experience on the last quarter of 2018?
It has been very difficult to keep everyone motivated during this time. But we have been conducting General Staff meetings to update all our employees on the challenges the plant was facing, and to update them on progress. This has helped greatly as they were all aware of the situation, and what management was doing to address it.
(S.K) Do you have any message/information that you would like to share with the rest of the staff?
Not much, only to share that Maun Plant will be starting production on 17th January 2018 after four months of no activity, and as Maun Staff we are all excited and eagerly look forward to this. Hopefully, we will have a problem-free 2018!