Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) Public Relations Officer, Brian Dioka says he is not aware of the decision by Zimbabwe’s Cold Storage Company to stop importing live cattle from Botswana, as was recently reported in the country’s daily newspaper, Newsday.
Zimbabwean newspaper Newsday recently reported that the board of CSC had made a decision to stop buying live cattle from Botswana. While media reports in Botswana indicate that the deal first collapsed because of failure by CSC to pay an outstanding debt of P1million, Newsday recently quoted Zimbabwean officials saying the deal collapsed because of the outbreak of foot and mouth is some parts of Botswana and Zimbabwe.
The publication also revealed that minutes of a board meeting held on 1st September, 2015 indicated that CSC decided to halt its deal to import live cattle from Botswana in order to safeguard Zimbabwean beef producers. A quote of the minutes of the minutes read thus: “Meeting was further informed that suspension of cattle importation was largely triggered by the need to protect local cattle producers.”
Asked if he was aware of the decision by CSC, BMC Public Relations Officer, Brian Dioka said: “I honestly do not know about that, I prefer for you to ask the Ministry of Agriculture.”
This is despite the fact that BMC has been playing a major role in the deal to sell live cattle to Zimbabwe. Attempts to get a comment from the MOA were futile. If true, the decision will prove to be a huge blow to Ngamiland farmers, who were left in the lurch after BMC abattoirs shunned their cattle following a foot and mouth outbreak. The Zimbabwe-Botswana live cattle deal gave Ngamiland farmers a lot of reprieve as they were able to sell their cattle to Zimbabwe for as much as P5, 000 per herd. The Zimbabwean market also boosted BMC’s efforts to identify alternative markets from the traditional ones of European Union and South Africa.