The Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Meat Commission, Dr. Akolang Tombale, has revealed that his organisation is collaborating with the Gantsi District Council on a project to construct a multi-purpose meat-processing plant in Gantsi Township.
The Gantsi district has one of the largest cattle herds in the country but the real market at the main BMC abattoir is 700 kilometres away in Lobatse. Some three years ago, the Council secretary, Nelson Molepolole, told Sunday Standard that they were looking for a partner to build an abattoir that would provide the district’s residents with quality and safe meat.
“Our interest in the proposed abattoir is to see that our residents have access to safe beef slaughtered in an abattoir with a high standard of hygiene,” Molepolole said in 2012.
That wish has been granted and the beneficiaries will not just be Gantsi farmers and consumers but the international community that BMC serves. Having been built in 1955 and deemed too old, the BMC plant at the Lobatse abattoir doesn’t qualify to sell meat products to the European Union ÔÇô the Commission’s primary market. Tombale says that once it complies with EU standards, the Gantsi plant will be able to sell to any market in the world, including that of the EU itself.
However, that is in the distant future. Tombale says that at the moment a feasibility study (part of which entails market research) is still being undertaken.
“Our hope is that if nothing gets in the way, we will set up a multi-purpose plant there,” he says.
Indeed there are some hurdles that stand in the way. BMC and the Council have concluded their talks but as Tombale notes, the BMC Act will have to be amended for the project to take off. The Act confers a monopoly on BMC with regard to the export of beef.