As part of its restructuring process to achieve operational efficiencies, Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) sold-off its cold-storage infrastructure in the United Kingdom (UK) in May 2006 for £7,1 million, and now once in a while rents out private cold-storage facilities in Europe on a need-basis.
This was revealed by Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Dr Edwin Dikoloti this week in Parliament when responding to a question from Member of Parliament for Nata/Gweta, Polson Majaha.
Dikoloti said in South Africa, the BMC group owns only the Cape Town based cold-storage facility– whose strategic placing allows BMC to export beef to advanced markets uninterrupted.
“The facility could also be used to secure critical supplies inbound to Botswana from export markets. The business does have access to a private bonded cold-storage facility called Chillweni, in City-Deep Johannesburg – only during times of extreme peak production, albeit on a short-term rent-out arrangement.”
The MP for Mmathethe/Molapowabojang noted that government has put in some measures in place as a way of improving the BMC.
He said that some of those included, to separate the abattoirs of Lobatse, Francistown and Maun so that each of the abattoirs operates as independent business from each other. “This arrangement will assist in ensuring that each of the abattoirs does not become a financial burden to the other and under this scenario, BMC abattoir in Maun will remain under Government assistance because of its sensitivity due to frequent disease outbreaks.”
He explained that the Francistown abattoir will remain under care and maintenance while a consideration is being made to lease it out or for BMC to enter into joint venture with a private entity to operate it.
“The Privatisation of BMC and Liberalisation of the Beef Industry that is in the process creates an opportunity for a thriving beef industry for the BMC abattoirs. Government is currently in the process of the re-structuring of BMC chain of abattoirs that is geared towards improving its efficiency, economic viability and create market for farmers,” he said.
Meanwhile Dikoloti explained that apart from the European market, Botswana has access to many other markets in Africa and Middle-East North Asia countries being, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Kuwait and that in Africa too such as Angola, South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, DRC, Mauritius, eSwatini, Zimbabwe to mention but a few.
“We are on the verge of accessing yet another lucrative destination in the shortest-term being China, as well as Qatar and the United States of America in the medium-long term,” he added.