In a quest to secure a market for the north western livestock farmers, Ngamiland Private abattoir is exploring new markets in Namibia and Angola.
Through government, the abattoir says it continues to scout for new markets as part of its efforts to improve the uptake of cattle in the north western region.
Subject to the Namibian government approval, the abattoir says it expects to make its first export to the neighbouring country as early as next month.
Ngamiland abattoir Director -Tumani Chimbise revealed that recently there was an engagement with the Namibian government, adding that they are expecting a response before end of this month.
Chimbise further said they are currently working on meeting the required Namibian standards which have been outlined by the Namibian government during their engagements.
He further said securing the Namibian market will in turn encourage farmers to bring more cattle, also saying that it will increase the cattle purchasing price.
“We are currently doing the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and now working on Angola and Namibia but I can tell you that more focus has been pinned on Namibia because we have been having issues with them, they have not been allowing our beef to transit through their country,” said Chimbise.
Chimbise said while there are some sectors that could say their pricing is not right, the abattoir has massively improved the value chain of the Ngamiland beef.
“We are almost paying the right price for cattle in a green zone,” added Chimbise.
The Ngamiland abattoir currently slaughters 100 cattle per day and is expected to increase the uptake once the Namibian market has been secured.
“Of course, one would say we are not as competitive as the Botswana Meat Commission but I think we are at par with them now,” said Chimbise.
On the other hand, Ngamiland Farmers Association Chairman, Frank Mafela stated that although Private abattoirs have come to the rescue of farmers, they are however concerned about the cattle buying price.
“Private abattoirs have rescued a lot of farmers in the region although there are complaints that their buying price is relatively low but then again, they find themselves with no option because BMC pays them very late even though of recent it has improved,” said Mafela.
He further stated that they continue to enjoy a healthy working relationship with private abattoirs in the region, stressing that the increased number of private abattoirs has restored hope in farmers.
Mafela said they have proposed a meeting with government to set up a meat regulator in the region as most farmers find themselves selling their cattle at a disappointing price.
“Farmers often find themselves with no choice because they have too many responsibilities at home and they find themselves desperate to sell at whatever price proposed by the buyer, so we believe that once a meat regulator has been appointed, we will then be able to sell at the right price,” said Mafela.
Early this year, government through The Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security in collaboration with European Union (EU) launched a joint project that will support communal rangeland management and livestock trading in the Ngamiland District.
The P6.5 million worth project will be implemented by Conservation International (CI Botswana) over a three-year period.
Agriculture minister, Karabo Gare, said the community-based project comes at a crucial time when the country is experiencing the effects of Foot and Mouth Disease in the Ngamiland and Chobe districts.
It has been reported that Ngamiland and Boteti account for a combined 22.6 percent and 15.1 percent of the national cattle and small stock production respectively.
Currently, independent abattoirs are slaughtering cattle from Ngamiland and Boteti to supply the local market and export to countries like Gabon, Mozambique, Kuwait, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).