The Botswana Meat Commission (Maun) was forced to suspend operations recently as a result of an acute water shortage and unexpected power outages in the village.
Briefing council this week, Plant Manager at the abattoir, Mothobi Mothobi, said the Department of Water Affairs has not been able to supply BMC with water for almost four weeks now, forcing them to temporarily rely on their water treatment plant to generate enough clean water.
He said the treatment plant also comes with huge costs as they are expected to update it from time to time to keep the business going, adding that the whole thing poses a serious threat on the day to day running of the plant and fears for the worst, should their production go up.
“Although power outages are not much of a predicament as we speak, I foresee problems coming because the back-up generator that is available now is only for critical places such as freezers and chillers,” he said.
Mothobi also told council of their intention to assist farmers, whenever possible, by way of purchasing their cattle for slaughter, even though this might not be soon because of the re-occurrence of the Foot and Mouth Disease.
Councillors, most of whom are farmers, had complained that the abattoir does not buy from all of them, but from just a few who have established relations with management there. They said this has halted the running of their households because cattle rearing is the only source of income, which complements their already small salaries.
In response, Mothobi said that it is not true that they favour other farmers over others.
“The allocation committee has also sat down and we are still working on the figures and sequence to source animals from Bodibeng, Toteng, Makalamabedi, Haina Veld, Maun West, Maun East, Chanoga Extension area as well as the Makalamabedi and Matsaudi communal crushes,” Mothobi said. “Kill figures are also down between March and April when all our sales were halted since we had no space then to accommodate animals for production. The production was also momentarily reduced to 60 per day for compliance reasons and we are in the process of increasing the capacity to 80 animals per day hoping to complete the work end of June.”
He added that there is a new outbreak of FMD, so they will be in a position to maintain and clean their freezers, so that by the time they start slaughtering they could be in good condition.