Neighbouring, South Africa is said to be the main importer of live cattle from Botswana. The Agriculture Ministry has revealed that following the Government of Botswana’s authorisation of selective live cattle exports in the last few years, atleast 205 685 have since been sold to neighbouring countries.
Of the 205 685 exported since inception, 200 566 (97.5%) were sold to the Republic of South Africa while only 5 119 (2.5%) were sold to the neighbour in the west – Namibia.
The live cattle was approved by the government as a relief measure to assist farmers to access other markets as a result of the ongoing restructuring of the country’s cattle industry.
The initiative was first introduced in March 2019 with a view to liberalize the beef sector and discontinue the monopoly hitherto enjoyed by Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) as the country’s sole beef exporter.
When the initiative started, government indicated that only a maximum of 30 percent of a single farmer’s total herd will be allowed to be exported
Karabo Gare, minister responsible for Agriculture told Parliament this past week that the live cattle export has since been extended.
“This dispensation was further extended by a period of two (2) years effective January 2022 to 31 December 2023”, Gare said.
In 2021 the Botswana National Beef Producers Union (BNBPU) appealed to government to make the export of live cattle a permanent arrangement.
“The live export dispensation has been good to farmers; it has created a bit of competition among buyers which offers the farmer a better price. It is a good example that if the BMC was well functional under a regulated but liberalized environment, cattle can be a very big business for the benefit of the economy of our country,” BNBPU Spokesperson Andrew Seeletso told The Telegraph in August 2021.