While some of the Botswana Meat Commission employees labeled the facility as an old colonial building, a Tanzanian delegation visiting the country on a benchmark mission has hailed the Lobatse project a viable venture worth imitating in their home soil.
“We were very impressed about our stay in the country particularly over the Lobatse BMC facility. Some of BMC employees said the facility was old fashioned …an enterprise of the colonial era. But to us that is a state of the art facility that we wish to copy and implement in our home country,” said the head of the visiting Tanzanian mission, Deputy Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Development Saning’O Telele.
At a cocktail party Thursday following a hectic four day visit to the country’s agricultural projects around the country Telele added: “A similar facility will certainly be located at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Tanzania is a tourism and pastoral country. At Ngorongoro Conservation Area we do not cultivate and as such we do not have human-wildlife conflicts. Wildlife and livestock live compatibly at peace with one another.”
Just like the local Okavango Delta, Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a UNESCO world heritage site, with an abundance of different wildlife species which normally migrate to the high wet lands during rainy season, paving way for the domestic animals to assume the place temporarily. But that is not the case for Botswana ÔÇô a semi-arid Southern African country currently experiencing the worst ever drought since the early 80’s.
Incessant sporadic outbreaks of FMD are almost the order of the day, hampering the livelihood of many households particularly in the Okavango region.
When quizzed about the FMD situation in their native country-Tanzania, one member of the delegation said in an interview: “In addition to plentiful of rains that wash away FMD disease we boast of medical and veterinary experts to combat the animal diseases.”
Once the bread basket of the country post independence, the beef industry has since been relegated to the third spot of the GDP top earner after the diamond and tourism respectively. The Tanzanian delegation is hopeful that constructing a facility similar to the BMC would be an answer to their animal husbandry plight.
“But alongside the factory we will also have to teach our native farmers population the need to nurture and feed the livestock to obtain quality end product. We have to downsize the animal population for quality high end product,” Telele concluded.
Some of the projects the mission visited included the artificial insemination and livestock ranch in a communal set up, the Lobatse meat processing and export abattoir and the embryo transfer project and Botswana vaccine institute.
For his part, Assistant Minister of Agriculture Patrick Ralotsia said, “Not only is the mission solely to enhance the husbandry management practices in your country, it also moves to strengthen further our bilateral political relations which have cordially existed for so many years. We should aim for the best. No man is an island. Tanzania cannot live alone and so is Botswana.”