The Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) abattoir in Maun will remain closed despite recent revised movement protocol allowing movement of cattle with veterinary permits in areas 2a and 2b in Okavango.
Production at the Maun BMC abattoir was put on hold following a reported case of the Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) in Ngamiland recently.
This week, Maun BMC branch General Manager Oabona Ramotshwara said that although permission to movement livestock on some part of Ngamiland has been granted, the commission cannot reopen the abattoir yet.
“If we were to open and slaughter cattle from the areas where movement is allowed, we were going to end up with slaughtered cattle in our refrigerators but with no market for them because of movement restrictions and farmers always coming to our offices and rightly demanding their payments “, he said.
Ramotshwara admitted that the recent FMD outbreak affected the region’s plans of looking for alternative markets. At the same time, BMC is said to be having beef as far as Mozambique which was destined for exports markets.
“We have instructed our partners in Mozambique to delay the export of the beef until we get further advice from the MOA. This is a blow to us as we were aiming at expanding our markets”, said Ramotshwara.
The FMD has been reoccurring in the Ngamiland district for many years which is partly blamed on buffaloes in the area. The regular out breaks are also blamed on failure by some farmers to get their cattle vaccinated. Department of Veterinary Services vaccinates cattle for the disease annually. However, farmers on the other hand also blame DVS for failure to maintain cordon fences separating cattle grazing areas with wild animals more specially buffalos which are known carriers of the disease.