Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) has expanded its footprint in Germany this week after launching the country’s retail ready beef.
BMC Chief Operations officer Brian Dioka stated that the branded retail ready beef packs show differentiated attributes of Botswana beef which it intends to strategically penetrate the retail segment of the market.
He highlighted that Botswana’s beef packs have only been selling mostly in wholesales adding that the new developments which expands to retail outlets will improve the country’s profile and customer convenience.
“We have successfully launched a beef product in Germany which is called a retail ready because previously it used to sell in a box, so this basically means that customers can simply walk into a retail shop and buy it,” he said.
Dioka highlighted that it is in their plans to ensure this developments are spread across all countries selling their beef products in order to improve customer convenience.
On the other hand, BMC Board chairman Boyce Mhutsiwa said launching this new product is something that has been coming.
He indicated that as the new board when were appointed last year they discussed and agreed to craft a strategy that will take the Parastatal forward and part of the strategy was to open new markets.
“Let me express my excitement because this is something that we have been aiming on doing and last year when we were appointed we crafted a strategy that will take us forward as a business,” said Mohutsiwa.
For his part, Botswana National Beef Producers Union Chairman Mpaphi Phumaphi said the new developments will help compel the cattle farmers a sustainability in the supply of Botswana beef.
“Botswana beef is unique because it is organic and there are no unwanted substances because it is produced naturally and in compliance with the dictates of this part of the world,” said Mhutsiwa.
On the other hand, The Assistant Minister of Agriculture Molebatsi Molebatsi said over the last 5 years the country’s national beef export entity BMC only exported about 246 tons of beef to the federal republic of Germany.
He stated that even though exported numbers are low, there were reasons which contributed to this.
“I am told some of the reasons include inadequate production, product distribution and I am therefore on behalf of government concerned about this low export number,” added Mhutsiwa.
Molebatsi added that it is imperative for all stakeholders involved in the beef sector to ensure compliance in order to maintain and attract more markets.
Last month, Botswana resumed beef exports to the European Union two months after suspending sales because of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.
In August, Botswana suspended all live cattle and beef exports following an outbreak of foot and mouth in the northeast of the southern African country.
The ban was partially lifted in September, allowing exports from areas declared free of the disease, but sales to Europe, which has tougher import restrictions, remained suspended with government officials saying negotiations with the bloc were underway.
“Farmers and stakeholders are informed that exports of beef to the EU have resumed and are reminded of the usual requirements to be followed,” a statement from Kefentse Motshegwa, the agriculture ministry’s acting director of veterinary services, read.
Only cattle from seven of the country’s 19 designated disease control zones will be allowed, and the animals will have to be placed in cattle holdings approved for EU exports for a period of 40 days before slaughter.
Along with South Africa and Namibia, Botswana is one of the biggest beef exporters to the EU, where it enjoys duty- and quota-free access. Botswana also exports beef and live cattle to Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa.