Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) Lobatse has not yet factored how much it could have lost due to the recent suspension of beef exports resulting from the incursion of a buffalo in Zone 11.
Government has now lifted the suspension on movement of cloven-hoofed animals and their products following the outcome of the results that showed the buffalo was Foot and Mouth disease free. In an interview with Botswana Guardian, Brian Dioka
Corporate Communications & Public Relations Manager at BMC said putting a figure to the slaughter/export suspension is still premature.
He said they haven’t factored in – whether there is need to increase slaughter-days or not - and also how much production deficit exists and how it will be addressed. Dioka explained that BMC often produces as per customer’s requests. “When we are faced by such an incident and suspend production, we often alert such customers beforehand and propose for deferment of deliveries/supplies. Possible increases in production overheads would mostly be on engagement of labour for extended periods,” he said.
BMC Lobatse slaughters 600 cattle a day, on a five (5) day shift (from Monday to Friday). Management is still reviewing if extra days would be needed to make-up for lost time (which is 11 days), and how much that will impact the business financially. There is a likelihood that overtime would be required, but that still remains a discussion between BMC and affected staff-members, he said. BMC Lobatse resumed slaughter as of last week Thursday. Dioka stated that although export of beef products which were produced earlier than 11th April 2016 was still on-going. He said the recent announcement by government means that even production of 11 April 2016 going forward will be resumed and sent to respective markets.
He said their Cattle Procurement Practitioners have started contacting all cattle-suppliers to activate buying of their cattle for slaughter, and advising them on best returns achievable through direct supplying of cattle to the BMC Sunnyside Farm near Lobatse and the recently EU registered Dibete farm.
He said as BMC they remain the best and largest off-taker of cattle in Botswana- both communal and commercial, and are normally a price-setter for all involved in the beef-trade. Dioka revealed that their products are globally certified and are part of an elite few (3-4%) with British Retail Consortium (BRC) A-graded facilities in the whole world. “This is a guarantor of best service to both consumers and suppliers of cattle to BMC.
Therefore the resumption of service can only serve as motivation to continue our efforts of turning BMC around, which is already bearing fruits. We also urge farmers to exploit the opportunity of selling cattle to Sunnyside and Dibete farms, for increased returns,” he said.