Ngamiland is struggling to control an increasing population of cattle. Maun BMC Plant manager Mothobi Mothobi revealed this week that the 450 000 cattle in the whole of Ngamiland are overwhelming the capacity of the abattoir. The result is that they always find it difficult to buy in large numbers.
He said because of the lack of space, they have been reduced to slaughtering a mere 90 cattle per day, adding this has as a result put them under a lot of pressure from farmers who want to part with their cattle.
Although their aim is to give all farmers a fair share in terms of selling, he said this is almost impossible as they have resolved that they should only give a larger quota to those from areas with lots of cattle.
Mothobi said this during the launch of the Sustainable Land Management project in Maun, which is a partnership between Botswana and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
He said since Ngamiland has been affected by the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), international markets continue to shun beef from the area, as they have even made it clear that they will never accept meat from a red zone area.
Most of their meat, he said, is sold at a transfer price to the Lobatse abattoir at a paltry price of P14/kg, just so that they can free their freezers which have a carrying capacity of 200 tons. He said this overcrowding issue is quite a calamity, and has affected all of them at the BMC, including the entire workforce.
“Ngamiland people have prove to have lots of cattle as compared to farmers elsewhere. This therefore impacts on us in a big way because we cannot catch up with their demands. We are even considering setting up a processing plant, which I guess will also come with its own challenges as we will end up working double shifts. This makes marketing very difficult, but should we get better markets, we may at some point even increase our kill,” he said.
Department of Forestry and Range Resources Acting Director Joshua Moloi said extensive wild land fires which are the principal cause of structural and compositional change of vegetation are detrimental to the environment.
“As a ministry we recognize that our commitment to an environment conscious and friendly nation can only materialize where there is cooperation, collaboration and partnership among different stakeholders. The ministry of environment, wildlife and tourism is also encouraging communities to meaningfully benefit from utilization of their natural resources while they adopt appropriate conservation and protection principles.”
District Agriculture Coordinator Obed Mabutha said sustainable land management is vital, considering the ecosystem of Ngamiland.
He said there is need to jealously guard against any impediments that may lead to the degradation of the environment, because this is the area where the pristine Okavango delta and Lake Ngami are found. Mabutho said also that Ngamiland is a very sensitive area, adding it is therefore necessary that all involved play a vital role, while they also make their contributions on land management visible and also come up with outcomes that will benefit Ngamiland people at large.┬á