The response to the government’s move to allow Botswana farmers to export live cattle is sluggish, with minimal enquiries on the technicalities of selling outside the country to mitigate the impending drought.
The Deputy Director in the Department of Animal Production in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Kobedi Segale, said they had only received enquiries from farmers on what to do in order to export their cattle while only a single farmer has come with an order from Zimbabwe.
“Only one farmer has come with an order from Zimbabwe and we are still studying it to see if it meets conditions set by Zimbabwean government for cattle coming from Botswana,” Segale told The Telegraph.
He however admitted that farmers could still be trying to obtain orders before they can approach them hence the slow enquiries.
“Obtaining orders in foreign countries involves a lot of hard work so at the moment we feel that farmers are still trying to get those orders before they can come to us for permits,” he said.
Asked about complaints by some stake holders that small farmers would not benefit from the move as they would not know how to conduct business in foreign countries, Segale said that the government’s decision has been that farmers should conduct the necessary arrangements on their own. He added that it was too early to say this has failed.
“The process has just started so we feel it is too early to rule it out as a failure,” he said.
Among the stake holders who have said that the venture was unlikely to benefit a lot of farmers, mostly small scale, was Tshepiso Masire, the Chairman of the Southern District Red Meat Association.
He said that the move was not likely to benefit small farmers because it was long and expensive as it involved, amongs other things, quarantining of cattle both here and in recipient countries.