Some farmers in Ngamiland are calling on the government to reconsider its decision to export heifers to foreign countries, such as Angola, on the grounds that the scheme will kill the future market for the country’s cattle.
Amongst such farmers is Tihelo Nkape, who says that he was very concerned that the Botswana government could be happy about such a move that will, in the long run, not benefit the very people the government thinks it is helping by finding foreign markets for their heifers.
“I do not believe that our government is doing such a thing,” he said, adding that, instead of encouraging export of heifers, what the government should be doing is to look for markets for both beef and live cattle in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as Angola and not look for a market for heifers.
Commenting on a statement recently made by Hainaveld Farmers Association Chairman, Phillip Wright, that the Angolans’ promise to buy heifers from Ngamiland will cheer up farmers who have been unable to sell their cattle for many years because of constant outbreaks of foot and mouth, Nkape said that Wright’s statement should not be taken seriously as he happens to be talking only on behalf of his “few rich friends in Hainaveld farms”.
Besides Nkape, another farmer in the district, Goitseone Lore, also concurred with Nkape saying that what the government was doing by encouraging farmers to sell their heifers was basically empoverishing them and, like Nkape, said that only cattle ready for slaughter should be sold.
“Anyone who knows a thing about cattle farming will tell you that it is a very bad thing to sell and that he thinks the government has made a bad move by encouraging farmers to sell heifers. If this goes on one day we will have no foreign markets to sell our cattle to as they would have bred enough stock themselves,” he cautioned.
The Botswana Meat Commission recently confirmed that Angolan farmers who recently visited the country were already placing orders for heifers from this country.