Thursday, July 7, 2022

BMC CEO sees privatisation, deregulation negatively affecting farmers

The Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) Chief Executive Officer, David Falepau, has decried privatisation and deregulation of BMC as being a complex one that will negatively affect farmers and BMC.

“We cannot rush into privatisation or deregulation now,” said Falepau. “We have to come up with a strategic plan that will not affect our farmers and BMC performance in Global market place.”

He said privatisation and deregulation of the meat processing will put farmers at risk of a monopoly that might not reward them what is sufficient for their cattle.
BMC is a government owned abattoir that slaughters cattle and exports beef.

“The supply chain is built on many components hence we have to consider what exactly needs to be privatised and what sort of deregulation should be considered,” he pointed out. “We cannot deregulate or privatise everything. If any changes are to take place it should be a mix of the two: privatization and deregulation.”

Falepau said the BMC is a small player in value in the global market place and if it is completely privatized, there is no potential to get significant market share since it has a small market.

“We are competing against giant meat producers, like J B Swift, who have the capability of influencing prices in the market,” he said.

Falepau said BMC will engage Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatisation Agency (PEEPA) next year, to look at the whole situation and be able to determine what areas need to be deregulated or privatised.

“We have to understand what level of deregulation or privatisation is necessary to protect our farmers,” he said.

In addition, he said the World Organisation for Animal health has recognized the security measures put in place to control and contain the Foot and Mouth in Francistown area.

“This is good news to us and we are hoping to start slaughtering in Francistown on the 16th October,” he said.

The abattoir was initially closed following the outbreak of the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the Zone Six and Seven areas in May earlier this year; but it was later closed permanently because an inspection showed that it was not compliant with the Livestock and Meat Hygiene Act in a number of areas.

In addition he said they are hoping the Department of Veterinary Services will relicense them to supply the EU market. BMC has been shut out from its highest value export market for months following their delisting from the EU market for failing to comply with the requirements that included livestock traceability as per EU requirements, meat hygiene to the right standard, EU listing of abattoirs amongst other requirements.

“We are optimistic that by mid October everything will be back on track and be able to start exporting to EU lucrative market,” said Falepau.

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