The Chairman of Southern District Red Meat Farmers Association, Tshepiso Masire, says that the recent government move to lift restrictions on exportation of life cattle is a welcome move but that it might, in the end, not benefit small farmers whose cattle are facing danger of perishing from the current drought.
Speaking in an interview with Sunday Standard Business, Masire said that most farmers were happy when the news first broke but that the happiness has since disappeared after learning about the strigent conditions involved in selling livestock out of the country.
For instance, he said that they have since learnt that exporting of such cattle will require long quarantining of cattle both in Botswana and in recipient countries, which he said will obviously come at a cost.
“This obviously will not be affordable to small farmers who are in the majority in this country,” he said. Masire also complained that the news on this was not properly taken to farmers as this should have happened through their Associations. “We only heard about this on the radio and it is our feeling that this was not a proper way of doing things,” he said.
On the way forward, he said that they are hoping to meet with other Associations around the country to discuss the matter at a date still to be set in September.
Government recently announced the move to lift ban on export of cattle to foreign countries in order to avoid the cattle dying from drought. Farmers are to make their own arrangements to export their cattle to such countries.
The move has been condemned by some small farmers recently in a phone-in programme of Radio Botswana as they say they will not benefit from the move as they do not know who to sell to in such countries.