Sunday, January 29, 2023

BMC TO ADDRESS VETERINARY INSPECTION ISSUES

The Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) recently closed the Lobatse and Francistown abattoirs and processing facilities in the country in cooperation with the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS).

BMC chief executive, Dr. David Falepau, said the two plants would remain closed as the company’s management team dealt with a number of issues raised during the veterinary inspections.

“The intervention by the DVS is being acknowledged as this is a critical element of the market access to regions such as the European Union for Botswana cattle producers,” said Falepau. He would not, however, disclose what plant maintenance issues needed rectifying.

Comfirming the closure of the abattoirs to the Sunday Standard, he said the DVS was the competent authority for all processing plants. Falepau stated that BMC would experience a short term financial impact but it was important to rectify issues to maintain existing market access and develop new export markets for Botswana cattle producers.

He urged cattle producers to continue slaughtering cattle for domestic consumption at any of the local abattoirs licensed to operate.

Over 90 percent of beef products from the BMC are exported to EU countries. The EU has been encouraging Botswana to record and have concrete history of all cattle whose beef is for export. This is as a way of assuring safety of the beef products.

During the last financial year, the BMC performed very well, outstripping all targets and producing record volumes within budget price per kilo. The company went 11.58 percent above target. The target throughout 2010 was 160, 428, with the BMC receiving 179, 009.

DVS director, Kgosietsile Phillemon-Motsu, said that the BMC and other licensed abattoirs were regularly inspected and advised facilities on public health issues.

“They then make their own decision as to how best they will implement our recommendations,” said Phillemon-Motsu. He added that the two abattoirs are approved for beef export and reported that Botswana’s beef has been meeting EU standards.

Local farmer Bernard Lesole expressed fear that the temporary closure of the two plants would affect the local and international markets, adding that BMC is the country’s only beef exporter. He urged the BMC management to maintain the highest standards across all its processes. “More than 45 years of exporting beef to the rest of the world is a sign of commitment,” said Lesole.

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