The Botswana Ntlo Ya Dikgosi has been told that the Maun Botswana Meat Commission already has a cooking tunnel which produces pre-cooked meat and some of this meat is already being sold to the regional market.
Junior minister at the Ministry of Agriculture, Oreeditse Molebatsi, said in response to a question by Kgosi Keleatile Moremi of Batawana on whether the ministry would consider building a cannery at Maun abbatoir to allay fears of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).
“Fresh meat from Maun is also being sent to the BMC cannery in Lobatse for processing into canned beef after it is deboned, frozen and transported in sealed trucks,” the assistant minister said.
The Maun area and surrounding villages has for years been affected by FMD leading to the closure of the abbatoir. This left farmers in a lurch, with large herds of cattle as a result of lack of market.
Molebatsi further told the Ntlo Ya Dikgosi that government is in talks with a potential strategic partner to increase the capacity of the Maun cooking tunnel.
“BMC is negotiating with a South African technical partner to increase the capacity of the cooking tunnel and to improve it with better technology in order to cut the cost of cooking and to produce a superior product that will go beyond canning,” Molebatsi told the chiefs.
“This will add more value to the product and it will be more cost effective to the BMC. It will also increase the throughput at the abbatoir from one hundred to about one hundred and twenty cattle per day.”
Maun is a gateway to the country’s pristine Okavango and Moremi tourist destinations.