The Botswana Meat Commission (BMC), the country’s largest abettor, has extended the high peak period and sweetened the deal for farmers in a bid to take advantage of high EU prices prompted by food prices.
The high peak period, which normally runs from April to July, will now be extended to March next year to encourage farmers to take farming as a commercial venture rather than a hobby.
Under the new scheme, farmers will get a premium of P 2.00 per kilogram for best that will be sent to BMC between now and March next year.
Dr Motshodi Raborokgwe, Chief Executive Officer of BMC, says that the average Cold Dressed Mass (CDM) they have received during the period of the scheme has been 230kg as “opposed to 200kg, which we get during normal time”.
In addition, he said, excitedly, “This is very impressive, given the challenge we are faced with as a result of the rise of prices in Europe, since we are able to keep business going. The more weight the more sales there can be.”
The scheme was first introduced in July this year on the basis that the period which follows that month is the eve of a low peak season for the BMC in terms of availability of cattle and, therefore, adversely affects the rate of beef sales.
“This is intended as a way of motivating farmers to feed their cattle, rather than wait for the rainy seasons to feed and sell them to the BMC,” he said.
Raborokgwe said the decision to extend the period beyond the initially contemplated December 2008 period, to March 2009, was borne of the recognition that, in the course of the interval between now and December, it will be an ideal time for producers to be feeding and developing their animals.
The new development will enable Botswana to supply the international markets with high volumes of beef all year round.
“This has also been necessitated by the need to respond proactively to the markets in spite of the rise in prices globally, especially overseas ones,” he said.
Further, some of the revolutionary changes that have been made include the reduction of the quota booking period which has been slashed from 21 to seven days. And, on the other hand, they will impose a 25 thebe penalty to producers who fail to deliver as agreed to ensure that they adhere to contractual obligations.
However, the penalty will be meted on the next delivery, which will shave the benefits from the P 2.00 per kilogram premium to P 1.75.
Additionally, it is stated that the BMC Livestock Procurement staff may ask producers to deliver before or later than the initially stipulated quota date if agreeable and still offer the producer the P2.00 Premium Payment Scheme.
While the scheme was introduced in July, it is intended that these conditions will only take effect starting with the kill of October 2nd 2008 till 31st March 2009.