Botswana Meat Commission (BMC has not been paying farmers for the past three weeks even though it continues slaughtering their cattle. Farmers have allegedly been told that there is no money in the company and that the paratstatal is still sourcing for money to settle the outstanding debts.
According to a source close to the developments the parastatal has not been paying farmers for the past three weeks. “It seems like they will be paid before Christmas and this has not been communicated to them,” said the source.A farmer at Mahalapye said for the past weeks they have been sent from pillar to post about their payments. “It is very unfortunate for a company like BMC to be failing to give us our money because we depend on those livestock. We have been going to the parastatal and there are no clear answers.
The answers we got from their agents here is that there is no money. Why did they take our cattle when they knew they did not have money to pay?” asked disgruntled farmer Mark Gabaitse. He said BMC bought cattle from them last month (November 10th). “We have been going to Lobatse and there is no clear sign we will get our money.
This is unacceptable for us farmers who are staying in rural areas because we are spending a lot to enquire about our money,” he said. Speaking in an interview with the Chief Executive Officer of BMC, Dr Akolang Tombale said he is not aware of any farmers who have not been paid for the cattle bought. “As far as I know we have paid farmers their money. What I know is that we pay them everyday through their bank accounts after we buy their cattle.
No one has ever complained about any debts or late payments from us,” he said. When asked when the last time they paid farmers was, he said, “Everyday because BMC buys cattle. Tell anyone who has not received any payments to come to us not the media so that I could assist them.” The parastatal slaughters 5 000 cattle a week and buys cattle through direct cattle purchase. After that they are put for 90 days and it is therefore a cash upfront business model. Traditionally it used to buy cattle from farmers and pay within 48 hours of delivery.