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BMC privatisation core to beef industry growth.

Privatisation of the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) is regarded as a key component in reviving the beef sector.

Debating the BMC Transition Bill in Parliament, Kanye North MP, Mr Patrick Ralotsia said the cattle and beef industry had contributed to the country's GDP.

Mr Ralotsia said it was disturbing to note that the beef industry experienced a decline and stagnation in growth, something he attributed to the BMC monopoly.

He said the BMC was not profitable and depended on government financial bail outs for its sustainability, therefore government found it fitting to consult with the farmers in order to make an informed decision on the proposed privatisation of the commission.

He acknowledged government's proposal to privatise the commission and liberalise the beef industry saying it marked the beginning of an important process in the transformation of the beef and cattle sector, which would be of great benefit to the farmer and the commission.

Mr Ralotsia said t in privatising the BMC, government should safe guard both the interests of a small-scale farmer and a commercial one.

Gaborone-Bonnington South MP, Mr Ndaba Gaolathe, said liberalisation of BMC would modernise and create a vibrant beef trade industry, which would highly benefit both the farmer through highly competitive market prices and the country's economy through employment creation to the locals.

He said it was evident that the BMC had in the past been financially struggling to sustain its self and been dependent on government for bail outs.

Thus, he said the privatization of the BMC made business sense as it would relief government from spending on BMC bail outs and channel those funds towards other government initiatives.

Ghanzi North MP, Mr Noah Salakae decried the dilapidated and out dated status of the Lobatse abattoir, adding that the abattoir was too old which might be costly to refurbish it in order to meet the European market demand hence the liberalisation of the beef industry could usher in the licensing of a new private export abattoirs.

He argued that said the Ghanzi region was renowned for beef production therefore the establishment of an abattoir in that region would serve to the advantage of both the farmer and the country's beef industry.

He highlighted that it was important to consider the proximity of Ghanzi to the Walvis Bay dry port as an added advantage to establishing an abattoir in the western region.

Mr Salakae said the exportation of beef directly through the Walvis Bay would cut on transportation costs currently incurred through exporting via South Africa, and would also reduce the risk of failure to meet export market demand whenever there was foot and mouth disease outbreak in South Africa or any related disruption.

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Publication:Botswana Daily News (Gaborone, Botswana)
Date:Aug 8, 2019
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