Tuesday, 12 February 2019 16:09

Plans to boost beef industries in the pipeline

The latest Statistics Botswana report on agriculture has attributed the decline in the country’s cattle population to stock theft and straying.The Annual Agricultural Survey Report 2017 indicates that cattle losses increased significantly from 48, 571 in 2015 to 79, 799 in 2017.

This comes amid government plans of Cluster Development Initiative (CDI) that has identified beef industry as one of the three clusters government intends to develop to achieve economic diversification.Presenting the 2019/2020 national budget speech Minister Kenneth Matambo said preparatory work is underway to develop three clusters – tourism, beef and finance integrated with knowledge intensive business services, studies have already been commissioned on the sectors.

“These detailed studies will include the assessment of capacity building needs for the identified sectors as part of measures to enhance their domestic and global competitiveness,” said Matambo.On the other hand Lobatse has been identified under the Special Economic Zone for beef and leather production hub among the eight zones government intends to promote.However, as cattle population dropped from 1.4 million in 2015 to 1.1 million in 2017, the birth rate also decreased from 57.9 percent to 47.3 percent while mortality rate declined from 7.1 percent to 5.9 percent and off-take rate also declined from 6.6 percent to 5.5 percent.

Although authorities have attributed the drop to stock theft and straying, Gantsi North legislator Noah Salakae says the meat industry value chain has become weak due to export monopoly created by government through the archaic Botswana Meat Commission Act (BMC) of 1965.

Salakae said the monopoly disadvantages the local farmers through low prices that are below international benchmark.“Low prices drain the national herd because Batswana sell more to meet their needs,’ said Salakae, dismissing government suggestions that liberalising the meat industry will further deplete the national herd.

He said most families have abandoned cattle rearing due to low prices.Meanwhile the goat population increased from 1.1 million in 2015 to 1.2 million in 2017, despite the birth rate of goats dropping from 43.6 percent to 39.1 percent and increase in mortality rate also from 16.7 percent to 23.3 percent while off-take rate improved from 7.1 to 7.3 percent. The sheep population also increased from 214, 234 to 234, 621 during the same period.

Published in News

Will impact BMC privatisation but that is a matter for local farmers to tackle

Botswana’s envoy to the United Kingdom, Roy Blackbeard says Britain’s exit from the European Union (UE), famously known by the acronym BREXIT, can be both good and bad for the country.


Speaking to BG News on the sidelines of the Heads of Mission conference in Gaborone, Blackbeard said the good part of BREXIT for Africa is that, once they (UK) have left the EU the British government will consider investing in other markets. “There is no doubt about it that it is going to bring investments and employment,” he said, but cautioned that we should avoid getting swamped with British investors who may or may not repatriate their funds to UK.

Luring investors
Asked how many companies have set up in Botswana since his tenure and how many jobs and FDI have they contributed to the country, Blackbeard explained that he is accredited to a wide jurisdiction that includes not only the United Kingdom, but some 11 countries as well. However, he mentioned his greatest achievement in tourism, where he’s managed to capture the Spanish market from East Africa to our shores and in the process created jobs for locals.
He said the number of tourists from Spain has grown tremendously. “We have now reached a point where we are seeing one tourist company on two occasions in a year bringing more than 100 tourists to this county,” he waxed lyrically.
Blackbeard also covers Israel, with which they are exploring commercial interests in solar energy PV and water recycling as well as tourism. As for Czech Republic, he says Botswana has 100 students studying medicine. “We manage those students and visit them from time to time. We are also involved in the tourism industry there,” he said.


UK Challenges
The UK tourism market has been a little bit more challenging because the UK sees Botswana as a middle-income country and tends to look to other countries. “But to try and penetrate they group local tour operators into groups of up to 10 and take them around the UK to places like Manchester, Newcastle Birmingham and arrange one on one meetings for them with tour operators.
Blackbeard admits that attracting foreign direct investment into Botswana is every Mission’s Achilles Heel. 

Impediments
He says numerous hurdles among them, land exist. He cited his recent visit to Croatia, which he also covers. He says our Honorary Consul there is involved in the process of landmine clearing and have been involved in places like Mozambique and Angola where landmines are abound.
“We are trying to encourage them to relocate to Botswana and then cover those areas from here. But the main impediment is not so much the finance, it is the slowness and the uptake that has taken place in terms of land and in terms of issuing permits. Sometimes we find the procedures slow,” he lamented.

On BMC Privatisation
The challenge is posed by BREXIT. One of Botswana’s main markets was the UK, but with the country leaving the union, it will adversely impact Botswana’s flow of beef to the European countries, notwithstanding that our source of supply at times leaves a lot to be desired given the problems that we have.
He said that BREXIT will further impact our other agreements with the EU such as the Lome Agreement and the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). So, in the medium to long term, we must bide our time until we know exactly how BREXIT pans out, he advised.
However, for Blackbeard, the privatisation of BMC has always been a challenge and should be left to our local farmers to sort out. As the market grows and the demand for beef grows in the region that itself, given that the price structure keeps changing, will obviously pose a challenge, he said.

Published in News

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.

Published in News
Wednesday, 25 November 2015 18:46

Gantsi, Ngamiland farmers form alliance

With the assistance of the Irish team who have been advocating for unity among the associations to have a strong voice, seven different farmers associations from two districts of Ghanzi and Ngamiland formed a union known as Botswana United Beef Farmers Alliance in Maun.

The Alliance comprises of three Ngamiland farmers Associations   and four from Gantsi district. The alliance hopes to achieve better results through cooperation and to make agreements on important matters like marketing their beef and how to become a high effective lobby group with government and local authorities.

Irish team spokesperson, who is also the director of Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA), Malcom Thompson attributed all the hard work to the local farmers association. “I am delighted that we have been of assistance and I count it a privilege to work with such honourable people”, said Thompson. He urged all farmers associations to unite and to work cooperatively for the best interests of farmers adding that they should look at what is good for farmers and sacrifice so as to bring happiness and satisfaction.

According to him the lobbying power of the alliance will be huge, as it does not only represent thousands of farmers throughout Botswana but also those who have roots in Agriculture. The chairman of Ngamiland United Farmers Association, Frank Mafela requested the participants to put aside their interests and to work for the improvement of beef industry which will benefit future generations.

Alwyn Van Der Heerves on behalf of Gantsi Farmers Association assured the participants that the journey they are embarking on would help them to support their counterparts in containing the Foot and Mouth Disease, which is hitting the Ngamiland district. “Although we are different our common denominator is making a living from beef industry” said Van Der Veernes

He said as Ghanzi beef association they understand what their counterparts are going through and they will be supportive because they all have the same goals. The Irish team conducted several workshops with Gantsi and Ngamiland farmers associations as part of assistance from  ICSA in collaboration with the government of Botswana, which was funded by the Centre for the Development of Enterprises (CDE) under its private sector development plan (PSDP.)

Published in News
Monday, 07 September 2015 11:49

FMD outbreak wears heavily on farmers

The recent outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease at the Segogwane Crush in the Hainaveld West is a major blow to farmers. The outbreak was discovered a few days before some cattle from Hainaveld were slated to be slaughtered at the Francistown abattoir.

The plague has divided farmers as some small farmers are accusing big farmers from the Hainaveld of causing the outbreak by illegally moving cattle from communal grazing areas to the Hainaveld upon hearing that there is a market. Farmers also told Minister of Agriculture Patrick Ralotsia to institute investigations surrounding the circumstances of the outbreak during a recent meeting between the minister and farmers in Maun. There are also allegations that some veterinary services officials and farmers from other areas bought cattle from affected areas and illegally moved the animals to Hainaveld upon hearing that there will be a market for the cattle in the area.

Farmers also alleged that animals that were found with the disease had new brands something which left many people with questions. Hainaveld has been declared the green zone of Ngamiland because it has had no cases of FMD since the disease broke out in the district in 2007. The outbreak is a setback to the government efforts to turn Hainaveld into a green zone and access the lucrative markets of European Union. Government millions were used to create a protective zone to separate the region and the project is almost complete. According to the Ngamiland Agricultural Public Relations Officer, Bautule Kealatotse, illegal movement of cattle around the district is a major concern. “All those cattle that were showing clinical signs of FMD are not from Hainaveld, they are from other areas,” he said.

Kealatotse said farmers are not cooperative adding that this will make it difficult for the ministry to control the disease, as they are aiming at containing the disease in one area. Kealatotse said veterinary officers’ team which is at Hainaveld East is busy checking the cattle, but there are no signs and cases of FMD so far, he said. He cited districts like Bobonong which managed to curb the disease because of the cooperation of farmers. Another District leader Kgosi Boitiro Dithapo of Sehithwa village condemned farmers who continue to move cattle illegally around the district. Kgosi Dithapo urged the ministry to impose force in patrolling the fences, citing the protection zone, saying since the arrival of Botswana Defence Force officicers there are no cases of damage reported. He said this suggests that it is the farmers that destroy the fence. A farmer at Kareng village, Frisco Gabokakangwe, expressed displeasure on the issue and requested the ministry to investigate cattle that were found with the disease.

Published in News
Monday, 10 August 2015 16:32

BMC distances itself from meat fest flop

Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) has distanced itself from any association with the flop of the year that was Francistown Meat Festival. The event that was hyped both on print and social media for the last three months turned out to be a marketing gimmick that left patrons fuming.

Realising that things were not going according to plan, organisers attempted a last minute planning as some patrons who had purchased VIP tickets demanded a refund. “Where is the meat? I’ve been here for hours and not a steak is in sight,” fumed Onkemetse Joseph accusing organisers of lack of planning and benchmarking. Accusing fingers were pointed at BMC organisers of the inaugural Francistown Meat Festival who were  blamed for the lack of meat. One of the organisers Theophillus Moduane said BMC brought the meat late in the afternoon which messed up their entire programme.

“It is one of the reasons why things did not turn out the way we planned them,” said Moduane. However, Tumisang Moatlhodi who was also part of the organising team said they had found the venue in a mess following Kelly Khumalo’s show the previous night. “A good chunk of our time was consumed as we tidied up in the morning,” she said in an interview. Another patron, Wadza Chite raised concern that the event was overhyped and they bought tickets with the hope to be entertained by a list of all the local artistes mentioned on the line-up. These included MMP Family known for their hit song Lebala ka nna. None of the big names on the list turned up which naturally angered a lot of patrons. “If it wasn’t for DJ Bunz for driving the blues away with his energetic set, I would also be demanding my money back,” said Chite. “I’m still angry at these guys because we bought tickets for P100.00 and they still demanded that we pay an extra P30.00 as car charge. That was never part of the package,” Chite said.

Meanwhile Botswana Meat Commission Head of Public Relations, Brian Dioka was not amused that the company’s name was being dragged in the mud by organisers who simply failed to plan their event. Dioka did not take kindly to allegations that the meat festival flopped because BMC pulled out at the eleventh hour. “We never had an agreement with them. They made false allegations that we pulled the plug at the eleventh hour, they misled people and robbed them and now they are using BMC as a scapegoat,” Dioka said. According to Dioka, a certain company had come to BMC offices in Francistown with a proposal inviting BMC to be partners in the Francistown Inter-Companies Networking and meat feasting day and five-a-side soccer tournament.

“They did not ask for any sponsorship. The proposal was clear that we were to set up a stall which we thought was a good idea,” Dioka explained. He said that two weeks later another group came to their premises and claimed ownership of the proposal. “They said  the person who submitted it had left the country for Germany,” said Dioka. “BMC is guided by protocol; it is not a given that every proposal submitted will be approved in a finger snap. We participated at the Serowe show after they sent their proposal in January,” he said. Dioka advised members of the public to be vigilant lest they be shortchanged by unscrupulous promoters. He advised promoters to follow laid down procedures if they want their events to be successful.

Published in Northren Extra
Friday, 05 June 2015 16:03

‘Agric output to reach 6% of GDP’

The agriculture sector will contribute 6 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the next five years, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Dr. Marcus Chimbombi has confidently said. Chimbombi told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that he has a plan of growing his ministry’s contribution to the GDP from the current 2.6 percent to 6 percent in the next five years.

The PS said his growth plan will be centralised on every sector that could easily be commercialised. His plan is to grow the beef, cereal, honey, sheep and goat production into large commercial scale. However Chimbombi’s vision is not supported by any study but was made based on the statistics that indicated which sectors have potential to be commercialised. “With cereal we will be able to produce 200 metric tons, which will go into assisting other sectors.”

Chimbombi was responding to Selibe Phikwe West MP, Dithapelo Keorapetse who wanted to know the ministry’s target towards contributing to the GDP. With regards to the plans Keorapetse was skeptical that the presentation was just a plan without any detailed projections. “We expect detailed plans and objective strategies not statements that are not authentic,” he said.

Meanwhile on Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Chimbombi said they have dealt with it by pushing it to the North. He pointed that at one point they worked with Zimbabwe by providing them with vaccine. However Tati East MP Samson Guma Moyo was not pleased with the PS response regarding the spread of FMD. He said Chimbombi is underestimating the challenge of FMD and how it has affected the people's lives especially for the people in the northern area. “There should be a study to look at how people in the North are affected and find solutions.”

Published in News
Friday, 07 September 2012 18:14

De Graff, Molale raid BMC

Drama unfolded this week at Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) when a high level delegation led by the minister of Agriculture descended on the abattoir to terminate the contract of Acting Chief Executive Officer Ian Thompson and his Chief Financial Advisor.

The decision comes hardly two months after Thompson replaced Dr. David Falepau who was expected to guide the loss-making abattoir to profitability. Respected geologist and former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Dr. Akolang Tombale took over on Wednesday on a one-year contract. While details remain sketchy on Thompson’ expulsion, industry sources say a delegation which included Minister Christian De Graff, Permanent Secretary to the President, Eric Molale and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Micus Chimbombi descended Wednesday morning on the abattoir with one thing in mind: to expel Thompson and his Chief Financial Advisor, Siva Prasad Ventaka Subrahmanya Ponange. With his financial background, Indian born Prasad had been BMC (UK) Limited Director until 14 November 2011 according to documents seen by Botswana Guardian.

He was then appointed Financial Advisor in June 2012. Sources within the ailing abattoir said Prasad made a killing from his expulsion, raking in almost P1 million for the two months he was at BMC.

“A contingent of officials arrived this morning, they fired Thompson while he was still on leave.”  Dr Tombale who reported to work on Wednesday has an enormous task of reviving the fortunes of the parastatal after posting poor results in recent years. The former permanent secretary in the defunct Ministry of mineral resources takes over at a time when the parastatal is on its knees due to poor management.


BMC communications manager could not confirm or deny the development. However, he said that the parastatal would call a press conference to announce the new changes. Tombale’s ascendance to the top BMC post is also expected to raise questions about his experience in the meat industry.
Dr. Tombale cut his teeth in the mining industry and has been a private consultant and board chairman of BCL limited.  His close acquaintances say the bureaucrat- renowned for his negotiations skills in the Botswana/De Beers diamonds sales agreement, which led to the relocation of the Diamond Trading Company from London to Gaborone-will help improve BMC profit margins.
Dr. Tombale told Botswana Guardian this week that what BMC needs is a manager not a farmer to run its operations.
“The problem with BMC has been issues of management. Yes they have been appointing people with the right technical qualifications [in the meat industry] for the job, but that hasn’t changed the fortunes of the parastatal over the years. While it is true that I don’t have experience in the meat industry, I have held senior managerial positions in government and this can help the company,” he said.


He said that after a month he would have identified the real problems behind the parastatal’s poor performance, adding that what is needed at BMC is to empower the junior staff and avail resources to them. While his appointment has been hailed in some quarters, others like the Chairman of Haina Veldt Farmers Association Philip Wright have out-rightly dismissed it.
“If it’s true, it’s a joke.” Wright argued that someone from the mining industry was incapable of solving problems surrounding BMC. He said that as far as the farmers are concerned, Dr. Falepau was the right person for the job not somebody from a mining industry. 


“We still don’t know why he was fired,” he said. Mogalakwe Mogalakwe, a member of the Sand veldt Farmers Association in the Central District, hailed the appointment saying BMC does not need a veterinarian to turn it around.
He hoped that Dr Tombale as capable administrator would do away with the purchase scheme, which he said, benefited only the feedlot farmers. The minister of Agriculture Christian De Graaff confirmed the appointment to Botswana Guardian.

Published in News
Friday, 06 July 2012 19:49

BMC up for sale to highest bidder

bmcAmendment Bill to privatise BMC • Farmers outraged • De Graaff conniving with SA businessmen to take over BMC - claim BG reporter Just when livestock farmers are basking in the excitement that the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) in Lobatse will resume beef exports to the lucrative European Union market, the Ministry of Agriculture has connived to upset the applecart. Assistant Minister of Agriculture Oreeditse Molebatsi on Tuesday tabled an Amendment Bill in parliament that seeks to end BMC monopoly and allow other players into the industry. This has brought Molebatsi and his boss, Christian De Graaff into a collision course with some farmers who feel that privatising the BMC will make life more difficult for them. Farmers feel that the Bill spells doom for the loss making BMC.

They also argue that should Molebatsi get the green light from the lawmakers it will mark the end of the small farmer. “It is going to provide cattle barons the opportunity to sell to the European Union (EU) market at the expense of the small farmer,” Godfrey Habana of Nata Ranchers Association cried. Habana says de-monopolising the abattoir will be the end of life for the subsistence farmer and the export agency. “They are kicking the BMC when it is lying down,” he said. Patrick Mazwiduma, a farmer who has at least five ranches, shares this sentiment. He feels that the status quo should be left alone. Efforts to amend the BMC Act to de-monopolise the country’s beef export agency suffered a minor setback last year after Parliament deferred the bill citing some reservations. Some legislators were hostile towards ending BMC’ monopoly. There are claims that the Minister of Agriculture, Christian De Graaff is helping a group of South African businessmen to take over BMC. Farmers are also suspicious of the whole motive for privatising the abattoir. “We have our own suspicions that the Amendment will benefit outsiders more that the locals,” said Mazwiduma. De Graaff dismissed this outright when reached for comment saying there is no how he can take over the BMC. The minister argued that farmers have no reason to fear for anything because the abattoir will continue to buy from them through the Direct Purchase Scheme. “We are not going to bring anyone to take over the BMC, we will not allow the BMC to collapse,” he said. The minister said the request to amend the BMC Act came from the farmers not from government. However Botswana Guardian is reliably informed that other associations such as the Southern Beef Farmers Association are against the idea of ending BMC monopoly. Among sections targeted for amendment is section 21, which gives the minister powers to issue permits to any person who wish to export cattle. Sub-section 1 says that, “No person shall export cattle or edible products from cattle from Botswana unless he posses a permit in writing to do so, issued by the Minister,” while the next part notes that the commission (BMC) may slaughter cattle on behalf of any person for the purposes of exporting from Botswana. But for some farmers this Bill is what the doctor ordered.

They say currently beef prices are very low because of the BMC monopoly. “We are at the mercy of BMC,” argues Bathusi Letlhare of the Western Sandveld Farmers Association. According to Letlhare who is a commercial farmer, ending the BMC monopoly will benefit farmers because there will be increased competition. The Bill comes at a time when Botswana beef industry is suffering from acute losses following the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the northern part of the country. It also comes in the wake of the unpopular ban of Botswana beef by the EU. Meanwhile, De Graaff revealed that Botswana would resume beef exports to the EU by the 10th of July this year.

Published in News
Friday, 14 September 2012 15:16

Why the industry is on its knees

BG: You have been following developments at BMC. What do you think went wrong?
Raborokgwe: The Board is too involved in day-to-day management of BMC.
BG: How did we get to be where we are?
Raborokgwe: During my time there was poor corporate governance to a point where the Board was micromanaging BMC, to an extent that it was setting beef prices, which should have been left to market forces.
BG: How do you think throughput should be improved?
Raborokgwe: While I was at BMC, we resolved throughput problems by going out to farmers and putting in structures to ensure that even a farmer with three cattle is able to sell at BMC, by opening BMC offices countrywide. This improved throughput. We also fed cattle we bought in feedlots. This improved product weight (CDM) and quality.
BG: How did you resolve the Board interference?
Raborokgwe: That was a major challenge for me, such that I ultimately resigned as CEO of BMC.
BG: Do you think politicians are meddling in BMC affairs?
Raborokgwe: NO I don’t think so, politicians are supportive of BMC success.
BG: Having been at the helm of BMC, how do you feel when you learn that the abattoir has now lost its European Union (EU) market?
Raborokgwe: Obviously it is painful, also because I am a beef cattle farmer. Thankfully, Lobatse abattoir has been relisted by EU, and hopefully Francistown will be opened soon as well.
BG: As former CEO, why didn’t you look for alternative markets apart from the EU?
Raborokgwe: There is a market for beef the world over, but we had to go for the market with the highest net returns, that is the EU market. Even if you are to export to China, they will still require more or less the same sanitary conditions as EU.
BG: Do you think the EU requirements are too stringent?
Raborokgwe: The EU requirements are what the EU consumers want. So if we want to sell there, we have to meet their requirements. It is a challenge to meet the EU requirements with an old abattoir like Lobatse, but we have no choice but to abide.
BG: There are business interests at play at BMC with reports that some business people are looking at an opportunity to buying BMC. Did you experience anything as such during your time?
Raborokgwe: There are people who want to ensure that BMC collapses and then buy     it for a song. Some board members did not have the fiduciary interest of BMC and were more interested in how they could benefit from BMC as individual farmers.
BG: What is your response to suggestions that BMC should export live cattle?
Raborokgwe: Live cattle are a raw material. We will be exporting jobs to other countries. Look at the diamond industry; it is moving away from exporting raw diamonds through downstream beneficiation. This is creating jobs, we should continue to do the same. It is only a few beef farmers who can export live cattle, and this would squeeze the small communal farmer, who owns the majority of cattle (about 80 percent) out of the export market, unless he goes through the middleman who will benefit more. With beef, we have the world as our market, whereas with live cattle the only viable market is South Africa, who can drop prices if abattoirs are closed.
BG: Farmers are complaining of BMC monopoly. Is it a justifiable complaint?
Raborokgwe: No it is not justifiable because the monopoly has benefitted beef cattle farmers in Botswana. The current two export abattoirs are struggling to receive enough cattle to be viable, and economies of scale would not allow multiple competing entities to survive.
BG: During your time, was the BMC losing a lot of money through feedlots?
Raborokgwe: No it was not. The ultimate returns were more than costs. We improved CDM and throughput. So feedlots were an ideal method to improve the weight and quality of our beef.
BG: BMC has appointed a former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and water Resources to head the abattoir. Your views?
Raborokgwe: Dr. Akolang Tombale has a lot of administrative experience. He will nail issues of corporate governance. Dr. Tombale is an interim CEO, who is tasked with setting the BMC on the right path, I hope he will get the support of the board and the Ministry.
BG: BMC UK Holding is also on its knees, what is the problem?
Raborokgwe: BMC UK used to be profitable and was adding value to the BMC group. BMC initially used agents to sell beef to EU, but realised that the industry operates in a Mafia-like style. So BMC made a decision to sell its own beef. BMC was so successful in this that it also marketed and sold beef from Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Closing down the London operation is a major setback for BMC.
BG: What do you think should be the way forward?
Raborokgwe: A commission of enquiry should be set up to get to the bottom of the cause of the problem. BMC has had four CEO’s in two years, so changing CEOs has not improved the situation. Other players at BMC are the board and the ministry. At BMC the buck stops with the minister.G

Published in News
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