Monday, April 19, 2021

Botswana beef exports under threat

Botswana export beef appears to be under threat as both the Minister of Agriculture and the Botswana Meat Commission senior management rushed rushed to Brussels in an apparent effort to save the European Union beef market.

Already, Botswana has taken a decision to indefinitely suspend exporting its beef to the EU market rather than be expelled.

Information passed to Sunday Standard suggests that Botswana’s high delegation flew to Brussels to meet EU delegation in-order to avoid expulsion from the market.

It is understood that the EU is worried about the outbreak of foot and mouth disease that has recently hit South Africa through which Botswana beef passes on its way to the EU.

The EU wants the BOLUX to be inserted 40 days before the cattle are slaughtered.

Speaking to Sunday Standard, the assistant minister of Agriculture, Oreeditse Molebatsi, said, “We recently suspended exporting our beef to the EU market due to technical issues with EU that will be solved amicably.”

Molebatsi said before they took a decision to suspend exporting beef to the EU, they wrote to the EU after the recent outbreak of foot and month disease in South Africa, assuring them that the beef is safe and would not be contaminated or affected by the foot and mouth disease that has hit South Africa.

He added that they also informed the EU about a Botswana cow that was recently confirmed to have foot and mouth disease in Kareng.

The assistant minister said that although there are some misunderstandings between Botswana and the EU which have led Botswana to suspend exporting its beef, the misunderstandings will be clarified.
Molebatsi confirmed that sometime last week, a Botswana delegation flew to Brussels where they met with the EU delegation, adding that such meetings are normal and that it was not a crisis meeting but a meeting to clarify issues where both parties don’t understand each other.

Molebatsi said, currently, the BMC is exploring some new global markets where Botswana beef can be sold.

Meanwhile, Molebatsi also revealed that the EU proposed that cattle should be inserted with “BOLUX” 40 days before being slaughtered, adding that they had already started doing so.

“Botswana will not terminate EU market just because of the little issues or misunderstandings that we might have,” said Molebatsi.

The delegation is expected to arrive home sometime this week.

The suspension follows after the director of Veterinary Services wrote several letters to the BMC to improve.

Sometime this year, the BMC closed down and later it was re-opened after they managed to apply what they were required to do.

The EU inspectors also came and inspected the BMC.

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