Sunday, October 25, 2020

Farmers threaten to boycott future BMC meetings

Botswana Meat Commission Chief Executive, Dr Akolang Tombale, has been urged to accelerate efforts to put his house in order, or risk having his many meetings boycotted in future as it has become apparent that he and his delegation have always addressed meetings while unprepared.

At a meeting he addressed in Maun on Monday, Batawana took turns to shun BMC labeling it obsolete, their argument being that so far there hasn’t been any positive feedback given to them surrounding the Foot and Mouth (FMD) even after they had contributed through suggestions and in some cases proposals at numerous fora where the issue was discussed. Tombale was also blamed for his failure to accurately address issues of incompetence at BMC, something which they claim has led to officials there not knowing their roles or what is expected of them in their line of duty.

Tombale had in his briefing to farmers told of some major challenges which his organisation is currently faced with, amongst them their inability to sell live cattle to international markets as a result of some impediments beyond their control as well as their inabilities in some instances of them not being able to satisfy the needed requirements.

“Just recently we had a meeting with a delegation from Europe. It was at that meeting that various issues pertaining to the Livestock Purchasing Agreement were discussed and we are just hopeful that we will be able to tackle some if not all that has been holding us back,” he said.

“The agreement has however not been signed yet as we still have a lot to talk about. All that you need to do is to keep your fingers crossed and pray that we meet amicable solutions which will not only benefit the BMC but Botswana as a whole.”

Keloitsang Ledimo of Haina Veldt Farms said at the meeting that Ngamiland farmers are beginning to think that they are being discriminated, as compared to other farmers across the country.

“You really need to reconsider because while we have been left destitute by the fact that we cannot sell elsewhere, we are also expected to dig deep in our pockets during transportation of our cattle from crushes. This is a very big blow for all of us and it is taking us nowhere. We know you (referring to Dr Tombale) have all the powers and authority to change and normalize this state of affairs which threatens to drag us into disrepute,” stated Ledimo with much appreciation and support from fellow farmers.

In response, Tombale said people should understand that he is just a mere employee of the BMC and not a diplomat.
“You need to understand I was appointed to see to it that things are normalised, and not to make certain changes which have resulted in you calling me a failure. We can discuss policy, monopoly issues and so forth, and leave all operational issues to the BMC. Even some of the accusations directed to me here are not under my jurisdiction, which is why I want people to understand each of our roles and not derail others. The issue of cattle crossing borders to DVS and not BMC.”

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