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Acquisition of elite cattle breeds costs government P25 million

24 May 2023

The 162 high quality breeding cattle imported from Texas, United States, which arrived in Botswana yesterday, cost government some P25 million.

  “Government has invested P25 million in procuring these live breeding cattle from the world's renowned breeders. This initiative is in line with the government’s Reset Agenda to revive the livestock sub-sector and ensure value chain development within the sector.”

  This was said by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi during a ceremony to receive the breeding cattle at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.

  The high quality breeds, comprising 106 White Brahman bulls, 21 White Brahman heifers and 10 Beefmaster bulls among others, will be kept at the Ramatlabama National AI Laboratory.

  “Prior to the arrival of these animals, a team of experts travelled to the United States of America to select the best animal genetics based on the physical soundness and progeny differences. I want to assure you that these animals are elite, of superior genetics and will adapt well to our environment as they are from a state in the US that has almost similar climatic conditions to that of Botswana,” Dr Masisi said. 

  He said the importation was part of government’s plans to increase Botswana’s livestock herd and position the country as an advanced animal reproductive technologies centre. 

President  Masisi said the cattle would contribute towards the goal of improving the national herd’s genetic merit. 

In line with the government’s Revised AI Programme launched last year, the cattle would be used in the production of germplasm in the form of embryos and semen for both local and export market, he said. 

Acting Minister of Agriculture Mr Molebatsi Molebatsi said his ministry planned to turn the Ramatlabama laboratory into a high performance centre and export facility.

 “My ministry has come up with a robust strategy that has several initiatives amongst them the live breeding cattle project. I am delighted that the initiative would facilitate the achievement of set goal of transforming Ramatlabama into an export facility of top quality germplasm,” he said. 

Entrepreneurship minister, Mr Karabo Gare expressed confidence that Botswana was well on its way to maintaining its lead in the beef industry, increasing value growth, innovation and international export competitiveness.

Representing the cattle’s exporters, Mr Clay Huggings of Texas’ JD Huggings Incorporated Ranch   commended President Masisi and government for proactivity in seeking to promote cattle breeding in Botswana. 

He said with the acquisition of the elite breeds, Botswana would change the agricultural sector landscape in Africa. 

Mr Huggings said it was not the first time they had sold pedigree cattle to Botswana revealing that a shipment of 44 Brahman bulls arrived in the then Bechuanaland Protectorate in April 1964.

 Trip organiser Ms Renee Strickland, detailed the cattle’s journey from Texas via South Carolina and refuelling in Abijan, Ivory Coast before their arrival in Gaborone.  Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Pako Lebanna

Location : Gaborone

Event : Arrival of breeding cattle

Date : 24 May 2023