The monopoly that the Botswana Meat Commission currently enjoys in being the sole entity that can export beef has hindered efforts by the Secretary of the Gantsi District Council to jointly set up an abattoir in the village with private businessmen.
This was said by the Council Secretary, Nelson Molepolole, when answering a question on whether they have made any headway in their efforts to set up an abattoir in the township in accordance with their plans.
“The BMC Act, which gives it monopoly to export beef, has made us to shelve our plans for the time being as our partners, who are private business people, felt they could only be part of the project if we are able to slaughter for foreign export,” said Molepolole.
On why they could not do it on their own, Molepolole said: “We do not have funds for such a project. We have long had the project in our plans but could not implement it for the reason of lack of funds to do that,” he said.
On accusations that they will be neglecting their mandate of providing services to the people by going into business, such as running an abattoir, Molepolole such arguments are without merit.
“Government is currently encouraging Councils to generate their own income as she can no longer afford to give Councils as much money as she used to do in the past because of financial difficulties facing the whole world,” said Molepolole. “This was our idea of generating our own funds as we know the district is rich in cattle,” he explained.
Some observers are worried about this move as they feel that if the Council is allowed to open its own abattoir, this will in the end render Lobatse BMC, which is greatly dependent from cattle from Gantsi and surrounding areas, a white elephant.
“I fear for the viability of Lobatse BMC if this could be allowed. It will turn into a white elephant as soon as that happens,” said a beef farmer who requested anonymity.