The government of Botswana has decided against privatisation and opted to retain ownership of the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) abattoir in Maun.
Agricultural Production and Food Security minister Patrick Ralotsia said after widespread consultations to gather views and recommendations from beef industry stakeholders, government has decided to convert the BMC Maun into a limited liability company to improve its viability.
Commercialisation is planned for the long-term, after a stabilisation of the foot and mouth disease (FMD) that has excluded cattle farmers in the northern Ngamiland region excluded from supplying the BMC with first grade cattle for meat exports to the European Union (EU).
Ralotsia said government, which is under pressure to privatise several loss-making parastatals that include BMC, will keep ownership of the Maun abattoir to ensure that there remains a market for cattle from the FMD-prone Ngamiland region.
The move is also designed to prevent the spread of foot and mouth disease (FMD)disease, which has hit the Ngamiland recurrently since 2013, by ensuring that no cattle from the quarantined region are sold in markets beyond.
“The Maun abattoir will be retained as a government property, and be supported with an annual budget. This step is meant to ensure a market for cattle in Ngamiland and guard against the spread of foot and mouth disease (FMD) into the green (disease-free) zones. Such support can be reviewed, and commercialisation will be explored once the FMD status of the region has been improved in a sustained way,” Ralotsia said.
The government has also proposed the setting up of Livestock and Meat Industry Regulator to control the livestock industry. A raft of amendments are also lined up for certain livestock industry laws in order to improve the regulatory framework.