Government has placed its hopes on the funds availed from the European Union (EU) towards Botswana’s commodity-based trade and livestock traceability project aimed at assisting farmers in foot and mouth red zones to participate in the beef market.
A fortnight ago Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security Karabo Gare highlighted government support towards the program, as it will enable farmers to achieve product biosafety through specific risk mitigation measures in beef production.
“Through the Commodity Based Trade it is expected that farmers will benefit from increased revenues, improved market access and improved use of natural resources. For the leather value chain the program will support farmer organizations in improving animal husbandry practices that will lead to quality leather hide to suite emerging leather industry,” Gare said.
The EU has contributed P6.7 million to be implemented by Conservation International over a period of three years. It is expected the program will facilitate greater viability of the regional beef value-chain, wildlife-livestock coexistence, biodiversity conservation. As well as rural development without compromising important biosafety measures needed for FMD control.
Manake reiterated that the partnership with the EU will assist meat from Ngamiland to be exported in good quality and in a safe to consume state.
“It is showing that the Commodity Based Trading has good results as we have already identified a market for Ngamiland in Vietnam and Hong Kong. When the livestock is already slaughtered there is no need for quarantine when it is for consumption within Ngamiland. It is only necessary for export to other FMD free zones in the country,” Manake said.
On the issue of farmers from Ngamiland directly selling to consumers and not depending on BMC, Manake said “we need to realise that cattle taken to BMC, are the one’s priced at P19,50 per kilogram or lower. Another thing to bear in mind is that freezing the meat at BMC helps improve shelf life of the meat. So that it can be consumed over a longer period of time.
Member of parliament for Maun East Goretetse Kekgonegile asked the minister on the visibility of the program in his region and how soon the ministry will start selling to the Vietnam and Hong Kong markets.
Junior minister said “the commodity Based Trade is there and already functional. If you had not notice its impact its because of shortage of funds. We believe the situation will get better now that funds have been availed for Ngamiland and other FMD areas in Botswana. As for Vietnam and Hong Kong Markets we are yet to start trading there, the process of complying with other countries regulations takes a long time.”
The program is expected to bring benefits for the leather value chain, as it would support farmers’ organisations in improving animal husbandry practices leading to quality hides and skins to suit the emerging leather industry.