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Botswana liberalises beef industry

07 Nov 2023

Government has accelerated plans to liberalise the beef industry for its growth and vibrancy, the President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, said in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.

He said during the July 2023 Parliament meeting, the Meat Industry Regulatory Authority Act, which provided for the establishment of an authority in the next financial year was passed. The entity promoted resilience of livestock and meat sector by creating a conducive business environment, which at the same time ensured protection of Batswana and consumers of meat.

“This notwithstanding, government has taken the decision to extend the life export dispensation by twelve months from December 2023 to end in December 2024” he said.

He said government was making strides towards improving the local production of milk and beef through alternative breeding systems such as artificial insemination.

In this regard, he said, government continued to rehabilitate existing Artificial Insemination Centres across the country and would also increase them by six new ones by September 2024 and the centres were in Mahalapye Rural Training Centre, Impala, Setata in Boteti District; Nxaraga, Chobe and Kgalagadi South.

He said the breeding systems were availed to Batswana at subsidised prices, to ensure inclusiveness and high uptake. For the financial year 2022/23 a total of 1 750 dairy cattle female sexed semen had been purchased and 1 000 of them had been sold to dairy farmers.

He said the remaining 750 female sexed semen were yet to be sold, adding that additionally, CEDA had developed a new Artificial Insemination product for funding. Dr Masisi said in respect of conventional semen, 500 straws were purchased, out of which 100 had already been sold to dairy farmers.

He said in the current financial year, 162 breeding live beef cattle were imported, out of which 141 were bulls and 21 heifers, adding that these were bought to further improve the country’s genetic quality and ultimately increase national herd.

Dr Masisi also said 2 401 Brown Swiss, Red Holstein and Holstein breeds sexed semen were purchased in 2023/24 financial year in Switzerland and Germany.

“Clearly, government is elevating Botswana to the pinnacle of prosperity and unlocking the boundless potential of its people in the livestock sector,” he said.

He said the construction of Tsabong world class multi-species abattoir at a cost of P163 million, which was expected to be completed by April 2023, will now be operationalised by April 2024, adding that delay was largely caused by global supply chain constraints.

He added that the establishment of the abattoir was a demonstration of government commitment to grow the small stock industry and other species exponentially.

Dr Masisi implored Batswana to increase livestock production.

He said government had introduced strategic interventions such as introducing the provision of quality breeding stock from government multiplication farms and training farmers in good animal husbandry.

He said the government identified 13 ranches which would be subdivided into 57 small stock ranches to be provided to farmers before April 2024 or earlier.

Also, he said, government continued to incrementally and systematically invest in small stock research and quality improvement at Lobu centre of excellence and upgrading Ramatlabama Artificial Insemination lab to include small stock semen and embryo production by 2024/25.

He said special efforts were being made to deal with regrettable shortage of ear tags caused by procurement challenges and litigation. As part of efforts to transform Lobu farm into a smart farm and a centre of excellence for small stock leveraging on 4th Industrial Revolution technologies, government introduced drones for animal handling and control, medical deliveries to outposts around the farm, predator control, surveillance and farm security, by end of 2023.

He said the construction of 12 grain storage silos in Pandamatenga would be completed soon, and would bring the total silo grain storage capacity to 90 000 metric tonnes from 30 000 metric tonnes.

“This will raise the capacity for strategic grain reserves and enhance national food security, as well as optimise the utility of the Pandamatenga Special Economic Zone,”he said.

He added that the ISPAAD programme had come to an end and replaced by Temo Letlotlo,  which would effect during the 2023/24 ploughing season. 

Temo Letlotlo is a performance output-based programme, aiming to sustainably improve food security in the country.  It has two components:  household food security and national food security.

He said the household security component would assist micro-scale farmers with 100 per cent subsidy and it targeted farmers with no wage or monthly income of up to P2 500.  ends

Source : BOPA

Author : BOPA

Location : GABORONE

Event : State of nation address

Date : 07 Nov 2023