Botswana beef bodies have appealed to government to quicken the process of establishing a meat regulator.
This comes after farmers complained that some abattoirs continue to take advantage of their produce by paying them low prices.
Botswana National Beef Producers Union (BNBPU) Secretary Andrew Seeletso said they have submitted a request to government to approve their request for a meat regulator.
“The meat regulator is critical in ensuring that the cattle industry playing field is level. It is critical for the country to maintain its reputation as producers of the highest quality that meets globally acceptable standards like the EU and others. This helps to maintain the niche markets that our beef currently enjoys,”
“Because of our low cattle numbers due to a number of different factors including droughts etc., our competitive advantage remains quality and not quantity, the meat regulator is responsible for ensuring that correct practices are adhered to when it comes to both beef and live cattle exports,” added Seeletso.
He stated that a regulator is a market imperative in today’s competitive world adding that it is a globally practice that ensures that all industry players are subjected to the same requirements.
“In our country other sectors like the telecommunications industry are regulated, it goes for quite a few others,”
“It has been a while but we trust that the Ministry of Agriculture is working towards finalizing the needful. We hope to be updated in the near future,” said Seeletso.
He said once the meat regulator has been established, the industry players will know exactly what is expected of them and will easily work towards meeting the set requirements.
“The BNBPU was instrumental in recommending the establishment of the meat regulator some years back. The consultants that were appointed to look into the industry turnaround strategy also recommended the creation of meat regulator,” added Seeletso.
He further said BNBPU membership anxiously awaits the establishment of the MR without delay adding that this will enhance current efforts of resuscitating the industry as a whole.
For his part, Botswana Meat Commission Corporate Manager Brian Dioka said the establishment of a meat regulator is long overdue, adding that it will assure farmers that their cattle will not be sold at a low price.
He said a meat regulator will look into the issue of fair trade, stating that the parastatal has been at the forefront of ensuring that the farmer gets the chunk of the revenue generated by the BMC.
“We always ensure that about 70% of the revenue generated is given to the farmer and that is because we put the needs of the farmer at the forefront,” said Dioka.
He also said in the current situation, private abattoirs will not be able to account how they are able to split the margins and the share of farmers in their income.
“BMC is open and everyone can come through and look at our revenues, we have been doing this and we want to do it more, we want to give farmers a lot of stake in our revenue,” said Dioka.
He said these are exciting times for the beef sector as they have resolved to ensure that farmers are always paid within 14 days.
“Farmers get their dues in line with what they should deserve and we will continue to do that, in fact we will not rest until this fair principle is applied and it sanitizers the entire beef industry,” said Dioka.