Botswana Meat Commission sale of live cattle to Zimbabwe is not set to continue till the debt of P12m owed by the Zimbabwe Cold Storage Commission has been settled.
This is according to BMC Public Relations Officer, Tiro Kganela who said that the failure to pay the whole amount owed them by Zimbabwean company has been a heavy blow to the farmers of the Okavango who have been selling their live cattle to Zimbabwe.
“The farmers who have been benefiting from the scheme have been devasted by the move to stop the buying of their cattle by the Zimbabwean company,” he explained.
Early this month the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Oreeditse Molebatsi, when answering a question from the Member of Parliament for Ngamiland, Taolo Habano, on why the sale of cattle to Zimbabwe was stopped, said that it was stopped because of the P12m debt.
On the number of cattle that have already been sold to Zimbabwe, he said that 2,667 had been sold to Zimbabwe at an average price of P4, 000 each. He also said that only full mouthed cattle were being sold to Zimbabwe in order to reduce the number of mature castrates and reduce pressure on the rangelands.
The scheme was stopped at a time farmers in Ngamiland had been hoping that they would also get a chance of selling their live cattle after many years of depending on butcheries to buy their cattle.
The reopening of the Maun BMC has not helped them much as it slaughters only a limited number of cattle and its operations very erratic.
Recently BMC opened negotiations with mineral-rich Angola for sale of live cattle.