Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) says it has improved its cattle procurement by introducing immediate compliance to a 14 days payment turnaround to farmers after slaughter as of 01st September 2021.
BMC Board of Directors chairman Boyce Mhutsiwa said few initiatives has seen an impressive surge in cattle supplies to BMC, with a weekly rise of more than 39 percent in the first week of September 2021 (post announcement of revised Carcass Dressed Mass/CDM rates per kilo). He observed that before these interventions BMC was achieving a paltry 250 cattle slaughtered per week, representing just about 7 percent of available designed capacity, especially at the colossal Lobatse operations which has a slaughter potential of 3,250 European Union (EU) cattle slaughtered per week.
He further revealed that BMC Lobatse achieved a record slaughter of 404 cattle a day adding that it is a number only last achieved in 2020. He said this is so because traditionally BMC at least since the national introduction of weaner-based production system in 2008/09 – has been solely depending on Private Feedlotters as its majority cattle supplies of more than 60 percent to its annual slaughter figures.
“Almost 30 days into the new revised cattle procurement strategy, farmers are cautiously regaining trust and hope and its now up to BMC to impress,” said Mhutsiwa.
He also stated that as part of its stabilization pre and post state of emergency (SoE), and in the same regain better attractiveness in the beef sector or industry since introduction of live-cattle exports by government since September 2020 – BMC has since 01st September 2021 deployed varied business strategies to counter the ominously plummeting finished-goods exports and that in the same address business wide performance to salvage the balance of the year 2021– while also preparing a better arsenal for 2022.
“The board revised BMC’s cattle procurement strategy which had last reviewed cattle prices in 2016 and had fallen off the regional-parity wagon by increasing prices at BMC by more than 14 percent for prime-grades as well as by more than 60 percent for some of the lower grades,” said Mohutsiwa.
He is of the view that while in the short-term some farmers seem to be benefiting from live-cattle exports because of its immediate working-capital realization, the downside of it in the medium to long-term is that huge investments attracted in the local beef industry, especially value-addition. He added that it is likely to collapse in the same taking away Botswana competitive advantage or its set agenda in global trade, of being a net-exporter of beef finished products.