Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) is considering exporting beef to the lucrative Norwegian market. Addressing a political rally in Lobatse recently where he had travelled to launch a candidate for his party, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the Scandinavian country had expressed interest in buying Botswana beef.
“They have indicated that they need 500 tonnes of beef and 500 tonnes of small stock, and they pay the best prices in Europe,” said Masisi.
He revealed the BMC has indicated the desire to sell straight to Norway, which is not part of the European Union (EU). This would effectively do away with the middleman, who historically has not ‘co-operated’ well with the commission, according to Masisi. The cash-strapped BMC is reportedly faced with a dilapidated plant, believed to be at the core of most of its troubles. While the commission has traditionally sold the bulk of its meat to the EU, the company has recently been looking into non-EU markets.
Although the EU has some of the strictest measures in place, the market has been a regular source of income for the state-owned enterprise. The BMC is expected to export its first beef consignment to China later this year, with the two countries having already sealed the agreement. Two months ago, Presidential Affairs Minister, Nonofo Molefhi confirmed the deal, which he said has the potential to open up more markets in the Asian continent.
Should the Norwegian deal come to fruition, it would add to the markets Botswana has been exporting beef to such as South Africa, the United Kingdom, Israel and Belgium. Meanwhile, the commission recently increased its purchase prices in a bid to encourage farmers to sell their cattle due to the on-going drought. The Government has started the process of privatising the parastatal, which will also include ending the BMC’s monopoly in the beef export business.