The newly elected Member of Parliament for Maun East Costa Markus has called on the government to include ordinary Ngamiland farmers into a batch of agriculture officials who scout beef markets outside the country for the Foot and Mouth Disease stricken area.
Impoverished by the disease, Maun residents and neighbouring villages found themselves at the receiving end with nowhere to sell their cattle and products as the Botswana Meat Commission will not buy cattle with the disease.
The main supplier of the European Union, BMC is left with no option but to shun their cattle as per conditions and agreement of contract.
“We call upon you the honourable Minister to at least include us as the farmers of Ngamiland into the search of these markets,” said Markus, making his maiden speech on Thursday over the President State of the Nation address.
Mindful of his tone lest he rub President Khama administration the wrong way, Markus pleaded with the Minister of Agriculture to pardon him should he go wrong in his contribution.
“But I am talking about the plight of my people…the impoverished people of Ngamiland who live in abject poverty because they have no place to sell their livestock for a living.”
A true representative of his voters, Markus said there was no way he could not highlight the hunger and problems of the people who voted for him into parliament – falling short of blaming the government of the current glaring situation in Ngamiland.
“People out there believe there are markets outside and it is just the government which is dragging the feet,” he said, adding there could be countries interested in buying their cattle.
Just like the people in the North East attacked by FMD recently, the government snatched a market with Zimbabwe consumers so should it be with the people of Ngamiland in countries like Angola and Mozambique.
With the area being a breeding ground for the disease because of proximity to the wildlife animals, Markus also called for the construction of the cattle-grid along the cordon fence.
He has seen the metal object hinder cattle from entering another area and is adamant this initiative could work well with the separation of the cattle from the buffaloes- the main source of the disease.
“I know it is a very expensive exercise but could work well for a long term vision; for our future generation,” Markus concluded.