Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Farmers embrace extension of livestock feed subsidy

The farming community has welcomed the government’s recent decision to extend the 30 percent livestock feed subsidy amid confusion over its continuation next month. The government announced on Thursday that the subsidy would continue from July 1 to January 31 next year.

A savingram dated June 17, 2024, from Acting Director of the Department of Animal Production, Aubrey Ranko, initially indicated the subsidy would end. “This serves to inform you that the 30 percent Livestock Feed Subsidy will end on June 30, 2024, and you are requested to prepare for the closure of the subsidy,” read the savingram. It also requested retailers to submit all invoices for payment by July 26, 2024, to ensure timely payments and avoid delays.

However, this week, the government said it will continue to provide a 30 percent subsidy for roughage, concentrates, mineral and vitamin supplements from July 1 until the end of January 2025. Smallholder farmers in non traditional commodities such as dairy, piggery and poultry will also be subsidized during the same period. 

Botswana National Beef Producers Union (BNBPU) Secretary, Andrew Seeletso, emphasized the importance of the subsidy extension given the current drought. “Drought season is upon us, and we believe the government recognizes this, hence the extension. Without it, feeding animals during this difficult time would be challenging,” he said. Seeletso also mentioned that farmers had appealed for an additional 5 percent subsidy increase due to worsening conditions.

Poultry Small Farmers Association Chairman, Ishmael Mosinyi, noted that the government had previously assured them of the subsidy extension. “Chicken feeds are more expensive in South Africa, where we buy them, so we hope this arrangement will continue until the drought subsides. An earlier announcement would have allowed uninterrupted feed purchases,” Mosinyi said.

Last year, the government revised and extended the subsidy, citing prevailing conditions during the 2022/23 season. Relief measures, including livestock feed subsidies, were implemented until January 31, 2024. The Ministry of Finance will also pay 40 percent of seasonal loans for rain-fed arable farmers through the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS) facility to mitigate crop failure impacts, benefiting those who received loans from the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) and the National Development Bank (NDB).

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