Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) decision to retain the current European Union (EU) incentive scheme prices beyond the month of May is expected to drive in more cattle to the abattoir.
BMC says after introducing the incentive scheme for EU bound cattle they noted a huge turn-out.
BMC Public relations officer Brian Dioka said even though the scheme was meant to last for a period of 5 months to motivate farmers to sell their cattle to the abattoir during a period of low supply, it was then decided to continue with the prices.
“The scheme gave us an opportunity to reduce or erode the export parity because then it meant the BMC prices were regionally competitive and regionally aligned,”
“We want to make it clear to farmers that even selling locally you are making enough money so there is no need to export because you will be getting good enough money and secondly because farmers were holding onto their cattle because of the grazing season we were giving them enough reason to sell,” he said.
Dioka said if they had gone back to their previous prices they would then look uncompetitive or unattractive.
He stated that as a result of the incentive, the Parastatal received in excess of 200% compared to the previous years.
“When you compare the supply between January and May of 2021 and of 2022 we have growth of about 200% meaning that farmers reacted,” added Dioka.
He added that in numerical terms during this period last year between January and May they received about 4 500 cattle but this time around they received 14 600 cattle.
“By making BMC competitive to regional prices and paying within 14 days it is the type of incentive that the farmers want so that they can bring their cattle to the abattoir,” stated Dioka.
He also said similarly the supply during this time has also improved revenue by 91% adding that it demonstrates that farmers want prices to be regionally competitive and be paid within the shortest period of time.
“When you look at the current excitement within the sector, farmers are starting to buy high quality breed because they are starting to see that there is value and sustainability in cattle farming.”
“So this high number of cattle uptake that we had between January and May is a number that we need to secure because ever since 2019 we have been struggling to get these numbers,” said Dioka.
He further said ever since they introduced that the prices are going to be formalized going forward, they have started to see a lot of interest from farmers seeking to sell their cattle.
Dioka highlighted that even though these are early days, they are hopeful that the Meriting strategy which has been adopted to run from 2022 to 2025 will bear fruits earlier than they had planned.
“This Meriting strategy give reasons for government to expedite the privatization of BMC because I do not think government wants to hold on to it because with Meriting strategy the Parastatal will attract private investment,” said Dioka.