The Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) Maun abattoir wills in February start killing100 cattle per day as previously planned, the corporation’s Marketing Manager, Sonny Molapisi, said.
He said the abattoir has been going through refurbishment, which delayed progress in reaching the planned number of 100 cattle slaughtered per day He explained that, since October, they have been on trial killing, which saw them slaughtering 30 cattle per day at most and that during the trial killings, they found out that there were a lot of technical problems that still needed to be fixed in the abattoir to make it reach their targeted kill of 100 cattle per day.
One of such things, he said, was the problem of pressure cookers, which were found to be not in good operational condition.
After they had tried to fix them, he explained that they finally decided to replace them with pressure cookers they got from the Lobatse abattoir.
Besides that problem, he said that they also faced the problem of waste material from the abattoir, such as blood and fats, which they had to get rid of in a way that will not contaminate the environment.
Currently, he said they have referred this matter to the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism to ask for their advice on how the problem could be resolved in a way that will not harm the environment.
He said that the floors of the abattoir also have to be repaired to make them suitable for the work.
His comments come after farmers in Ngamiland have expressed great disappointment on the progress the Maun Botswana Meat Commission abattoir has made since it started operating in October.
The abattoir slaughters on average 30 cattle per day as opposed to the planned 100 cattle per day. According to the farmers, the slowness in which the abattoir is slaughtering cattle has dealt a heavy blow to all their hopes of having their cattle slaughtered in the abattoir for better financial rewards.
Eric Letsomo said that when he first heard that the abattoir had started slaughtering cattle, his first thought was that he would immediately stop selling his cattle to butcheries, which he said were robbing them by buying their cattle at cheaper prices then selling them and making much higher profits.
He says the slowness in slaughtering cattle, however, means that he will still have to sell in butcheries as he needs money to pay school fees for his children and to run his family in general.
“I am deeply disappointed by this. I had thought I will at long last say bye to the butcheries, which have been cheating us but it looks like I will still have to deal with them because of lack of progress on the part of BMC,” lamented Letsomo.
Another farmer, Chris Motse, said that he is worried that he still owes government money he borrowed in lieu of cattle he had thought he would have sold to the abattoir and pay back the government by now .
He said this gives him sleepless nights as it is currently difficult to control cattle movement in the district as there is abundant water for them as the rivers are overflowing, hence the high risk that some will be lost to cattle rustlers who are currently operating in the district before he pays the government back.
“I do not sleep at night because I owe the government some money, which I could have long paid back if the abattoir was killing as many cattle as it was supposed to,” he said.