LEA study calls for local farmers to commercialise pork production
by Ngonidzashe Dzimiri
With the local and global demand for pork increasing, Botswana could have a stake in its production, according to a study released this week by the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA).
Botswana is a net importer of pork products. Despite government’s efforts and initiatives, the local piggery industry still needs urgent attention to make it more competitive in the region to ensure sustainability.
Currently, the country is one of the big exporters of quality beef although trends show that the pig meat has been the world’s choice since 1976.
“Pork is the world’s leading choice meat and its demand will increase globally in the future as a result of the growth in its per capita consumption as well as the continuing growth in the world population,” revealed the report.
The study revealed that the pork market in Botswana is highly concentrated in the tourism sector with a 60 percent market share, followed by restaurants with 20 percent.
“However, before the local producers can begin to target international markets, they still have vast opportunity domestically pork products to satisfy the unfulfilled demand of the local traders,” stated the report.
The study revealed that much needed to be done to fully commercialise the industry since only 40 percent of the farmers raise pigs for commercial purposes with the remaining 60 percent doing it for traditional use.
There has been a notable decline of the Agriculture sector contribution to the countries. At Independence the sector was contributing 40 percent of GDP and 27 percent of formal employment. However, the sector contribution to both GDP and formal employment has declined by 4 percent.
The study proposed that the establishment of a national abattoir, national processing plant in Gaborone, regional slaughter facilities in a bid to grow the industry. In addition the study stated that a long term solution towards the development of piggery industry would yield more economic results than short term relief programmes.
“Financiers should channel funding towards pork processing while proportionately financing production,” stated the report.
It also discovered that over 90 per cent of the farmers raise animals for pork production while specialisation in breeding is nonexistent. “There is an opportunity in this area for LEA and other stakeholders to promote new entrants to fulfil this role to service the stocking needs of new farmers as well as existing piggery units in light of restocking or expansion,” the study suggested.
LEA also undertook to work with the Ministry of Agriculture for the research on allocation of land and improved cheap pig feeds, which is one of the cost drivers for the farmers while simultaneously providing synergy with other development houses to train these farmers. The report stated that the piggery sub-sector can help in diversifying the agricultural sector and the general economy.