With demand for Botswana beef in developed markets either static or declining, the country has been advised to aggressively pursue opportunities in new markets.
The European Union market is without doubt an important one for Botswana because it pays premium prices and the recognition it offers is a precondition for exporting to other countries – like those in the Middle East. However, there is a downside.
“These advantages are offset by the significant costs added to the beef value chain and its supporting infra┬¡structure by the need to comply with stringent standards, which have been tightening over an extended period as the EU responds to its consumers’ concerns and reacts to unfolding crises,” reads the beef value chain analysis report prepared on behalf of the Private Sector Development Programme.
Additionally, the EU market is also becoming more competitive for Botswana as the advantages of preferential access granted are being eroded by similar provisions in other bilateral and multilateral agreements that the EU enters into.
The answer to that conundrum comes in the form of 11 potential markets that the experts have recommended for Botswana’s beef. In Europe, these are Italy, Sweden and Switzerland. Italy is described as a promising new market for specific cuts, especially the new ones that BMC is piloting. The report says that preliminary research indicates that “Italian customers are prepared to pay relatively high prices for Botswana produce.” Sweden and Switzerland are among “certain other EU and wider European markets” that offer premium prices and are likely to be attractive markets. Next door is Russia which the report says is a potential markets for certain targeted cuts. Then there is the Middle East where BMC has entered into a memorandum of understanding with a Kuwaiti distributor for supplying the entire Middle East. That BMC produces Halaal-certified beef stands it in good stead in this almost entirely Islamic region. Taiwan, China and Hong Kong are “likely to be attractive markets for low volume, premium cuts.” Once trade barriers are overcome, West Africa ÔÇô including Nigeria which is Africa’s biggest economy, will become a lucrative market. Closer to home, BMC has been advised to penetrate the Angolan and Zambian markets. For some time now, the Commission has been supplying Angola with low volumes intermittently and the expert advice is that high prices can be achieved for frozen and chilled and existing relationships can be strengthened. First though, Botswana will have to overcome barriers to export through Namibia’s territory. On the other hand, Zambia is likely to be “a promising market for quarter carcasses.”
Outside the EU but still in Europe, BMC is doing good business with Norway which according to the report, “pays more than twice the prices commanded from other countries.” However, there is limited potential for growth in this market as its annual quota of 1600 tonnes (which BMC meets) imposes a ceiling. The United Kingdom export market is dominated by Ireland which consistently supplies over half the UK’s beef imports.