The Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) is still owed a large sum of money by a Zimbabwean company, Cold Storage Company (CSC).
According to the 2012/13 Auditor General’s report, the Zimbabwean company owes Botswana an outstanding amount of P1, 239,000 for the sale of live cattle in 2012. The report further states that at the time the report was written, the amount had still not been settled.
In a bid to find external markets for live cattle from the foot and mouth infested areas of Okavango and Ngamiland, Botswana sold a number of live cattle to CSC in 2012 following the signing of a memorandum of understanding in 2011. Under the agreement about 30,000 cattle from foot and mouth areas of Botswana were to be exported to Bulawayo for direct slaughter in Cold Storage Company abattoirs.
Some months into the business with cattle been tracked to Zimbabwe to the delight of farmers who have not been selling their cattle because of FMD, the trade ceased after realization that CSC was not doing their part of bargain by paying in full for the cattle they have received .
Long negotiations followed before trade resumed again after the amount owed was paid. The new rules of the game were that the CSC pays forward before cattle are delivered.
CSC obliged and farmers of the two areas were happy once more that their cattle were fetching better prices of up to P5000 per beast which was never heard of in their areas where the main buyers were butcheries and comparatively low paying Botswana Meat Commission in Ngamiland areas.
The trend went on until early this year when it was announced by the Ministry of Agriculture that sale of live cattle to Zimbabwe has once more been suspended because CSC says that government has not given them import permits for the cattle.
The development however saddened farmers of the two areas who were enjoying proceeds of selling their livestock to the lucrative Zimbabwean market. It is currently not know when the sales will resume. Botswana is believed to have exported over 2000 to Zimbabwe so far.