Thursday, March 23, 2023

“Botswana’s beef industry needs to penetrate high value markets,” ÔÇô Fitt

The Coordinator of the Botswana Agricultural Hub, Neil Fitt, says there is dire need for Botswana to identify high value beef markets for it to be able to flourish and grow its beef industry.

In an interview with The Sunday Standard on the sidelines of the Agriculture Letsema II Workshop, which was held in Francistown last week, Fitt said that, by identifying these markets, Botswana can be able to compete and rake in more profits.

“There is need to identify high value┬áor niche markets in different countries, be it in Africa, EU and Middle East and then we need to develop our production skills so that we can deliver what they want, not what we have or what we have to sell,” he said.

Fitt added that Botswana’s beef production is small as compared to giant beef producers like Argentina, Brazil and Australia and pointed out that instead it should be able to compete against such giants by adding value to its beef production.

Fitt also said that there is a strong need for cattle farmers in the country to be educated as to what the market needs.

“By educating our farmers on what the market needs, this will allow them to take advantage of existing opportunities. Once they know what the different markets need, they must see if their products suit them or what they need to change to meet the needs and what they need to do to obtain access to these markets,” he said.

Touching on some of the challenges that are currently haunting the beef industry in the country, he said that there is high need for cattle production to be professionally operated from the smallest to the largest producers.

“The average off take rate in Botswana is around 11 ÔÇô 12 percent, for a properly managed operation, even under Botswana conditions, this should be over 25 percent and this would double returns to all farmers,” he said.

He added that one of the challenges that Botswana has is that its beef is not well marketed abroad. He said there is need to recruit good marketing experts into the beef industry who will be able to do the marketing.

“We do have well educated locals in the country who have marketing skills and qualifications, we can recruit them to do the marketing,” Fitt concluded.


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