Botswana Meat Commission Chief Executive, David Falepau, says that lack of adequate water at their Maun plant is hindering them from reaching their target of slaughtering 150 cattle per day.
On what they are doing to resolve this issue, Falepau said that they are currently working around the clock to put up systems, which will enable them to be able to draw water directly from the Thamalakane River, which is some few kilometers from the abattoir.
The BMC CEO says that apart from the problem of shortage of water, they are also facing problems of market as butcheries are declining to buy meat from them despite the extensive consultations they have carried out with the butcheries.
Though he did not explain why this was the case, sources in the butchery business in the regions say that butcheries are saying that they cannot afford to buy meat from the abattoir as doing so will be too expensive for them.
To resolve this, Falepau says that they are planning to sell their beef directly to consumers and to supply the cannery in Lobatse.
He also says that they are also exploring possibilities to export beef to foreign markets and that to achieve that they are working closely with Department of Veterinary Services as well as the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Maun abattoir has always been experiencing operational problems since it started operating last year. At times its operations were stopped because of mechanical problems in the plant.
Before it was finally opened late last year, the date for it to start operating was rescheduled several times to the annoyance of farmers in Ngamiland and Okavango who were eager to sell their cattle.
Even now farmers in the two districts are still complaining that there is no hope that they will sell their cattle in the near future as the abattoir accepts only 10 cattle from each farmer.
Commenting on the issue, the Department of Water Affairs and Energy Principal Public Relations Officer, Potso Thari , said that they are currently supplying the Maun abattoir with 150m3 as per an agreement they have made with the abattoir.
According to her, they had agreed with the BMC during negotiations that they will only be able to supply them with so much water because of other demands in the village. She further said that the understanding was that the abattoir will source the remainder from the Thamalakane River.