The Botswana dairy industry produces about seven million litres of milk annually, while the country will import over 53 million litres in 2020/21. That has created numerous investment opportunities for the South African dairy industry, according to Letsomo Mariri, chief scientific officer at the Department of Animal Production in Botswana.
Mariri said Botswana’s demand for milk stands at about 65 million litres, with local production meeting about 11% of this. Based on the figures, most of the 89% of the milk Botswana imports comes from South Africa. This emerged during a webinar on the opportunities in Botswana’s dairy industry hosted by Farmer’s Weekly in partnership with the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre and the Botswana Ministry of Agriculture Development and Food Security.
“In 2020/21, the national dairy herd was estimated to be 3 704 [head of] cattle, with 1 225 of these being milking cows,” Mariri said.
He further said the country aimed to increase production to more than 65 million litres, which would require a herd of around 10 000 cows. There were several challenges facing Botswana’s dairy industry, including a shortage of dairy cattle; recurrent droughts; disease outbreaks; and a lack of appropriate infrastructure, Mariri explained. The national dairy herd could be increased by employing assisted reproductive technologies such as embryo transfer and artificial insemination, along with the importation of cattle, he said.
According to Mariri, the ultimate aim of the Department of Animal Production was to have a well-functioning dairy value chain by developing strategic dairy farming areas, fodder production zones, dairy support infrastructure across the country, and increasing the national dairy herd both in number and in the variety of breeds. This followed a dairy value chain study conducted in 2015, with the main recommendations being to establish a national dairy production and marketing organisation and increase the domestic consumption of processed dairy products.
The main investment opportunities for South Africans, according to Mariri, were for farmers to establish dairy operations for milk production, while there was also a need for heifers and production of silage.
He added that setting up processing plants for milk and dairy products also presented opportunities for investors.
Meanwhile, Botswana High Commissioner to South Africa Tshenolo Modise spoke about the need for Botswana to ramp up its agricultural production and grow the entire sector, including the dairy industry.
To enquire further about investing in Botswana, please contact Bobo Senosi (director international: South Africa): 011 884 8959 | 083 595 3735 | email@example.com