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Arrival of superior breeds to make Botswana big player in quality animal genetics live cattle breeding

23 May 2023

The arrival today of 162 breeding cattle imported from the United States is an important milestone in Botswana’s efforts to establish a footprint in quality animal breed genetics.

This was said by Department of Animal Production’s chief scientific officer Ms Hilda Motsipa in an interview yesterday as preparations for the herd’s arrival wound down  at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.

She revealed that President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi would be on hand to receive the consignment   comprising 141 bulls and 21 heifers, purchased from Texas, United States.

To be used for semen and embryo production for the domestic market as well as for export,  the herd will be kept at the National AI Laboratory in Ramatlabama, currently being upgraded into a high performance centre.

“We have been importing semen, which is quite expensive. The presence of this elite breeds will ensure we now produce some of the world’s most sought after cattle semen and embryo within Botswana,” Ms Motsipa said.

She explained that the importation of the superior cattle breed was one of the initiatives of the Revised AI Production Programme.

When launching the programme last November, President Masisi announced government’s intention to avail superior animal breeds to increase the national herd and its genetic merits, she said.

 Ms Motsipa said while Botswana had its own Tswana breeds as well as others commonly found in the country, importing some of the world’s most sought after cattle variety was good for the beef sector.

“We are bringing in elite genetics whose performance system is unmatched globally, a breed much sought after globally,” said Ms Motsipa.

She lauded President Masisi for leading from the front in efforts to boost Botswana’s beef sector by becoming a player in superior animal breed genetics and the live breeding of cattle.

“We have been to Texas, USA, France and Switzerland benchmarking and exploring best practice and the right breed to purchase for our AI programme. These trips and initiatives were led by the President and we thank him and the government for the high level political will they have displayed,” Ms Motsipa said.

The consignment is due to arrive through a cargo aircraft having travelled from the US states of Texas and South Carolina.

The cattle will be given a month to recuperate from travel with scientific officers ensuring they recovered and adjusted to their new environment. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Pako Lebanna

Location : Gaborone

Event : Interview

Date : 23 May 2023