Windhoek – Botswana Meat Commission (bmc), this week sent a delegation to Namibia to meet potential partners, who will facilitate the Commission in its quest to bring Botswana beef into the Namibian market.
BMC, which is a 50-50 partnership between the Botswana government and the farmers, is looking at striking a partnership with Namibian local agents with the aim to enter the market as soon as possible.
If successful, BMC will join the industry dominated by the local beef as well as beef from South Africa.
“We are in the country to talk to retailers, suppliers, wholesalers and agents. You see, the shops in Namibia are the same as those in Botswana yet we don’t have our beef in the Namibian market. We want our meat to be sold in these shops. We are not here to take over the market. We just want a tiny share of the market,” BMC key accounts executive, Aobakwe Reikeletseng told The Southern Times.
Botswana currently exports its beef to several Southern African Development Community countries such as South Africa, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of the Congo.
Botswana’s beef is also one of the most sought-after in the world.
However, the country has recently been forced to look for additional markets because the European Union market has become too competitive for Botswana, as the preferential status it enjoyed previously has been eroded by the EU’s granting of similar provisions to competitors through a series of bilateral and multilateral agreements signed over the past few years.
“Yes, challenges are always there but we at the Botswana Meat Commission always comply with the rules and regulations of the countries that we operate in. It took time to enter the Namibian market because there weren’t enough platforms to allow dialogue between the two countries,” said Reikeletseng.
Further, a recent report noted that Botswana should seek new markets because her traditional position as the preferred beef supplier to the EU had been eroded by the ever-increasing cost of the business arising from the EU’s stringent requirements for animal health and food safety.
“These advantages are offset by the significant costs added to the beef value chain and its supporting infrastructure by the need to comply with stringent standards, which have been tightening over an extended period, as the EU responds to its consumers’ concerns and reacts to unfolding crises,” the report said.
BMC was established on 24 December 1965 by an act of Parliament to promote the country’s beef and related products globally.
In the early years of Botswana’s development, as an independent nation, beef export was the only foreign exchange earner.
Although beef is no longer the largest foreign exchange earner, it nonetheless remains important to the economy of that country, as it has a significant impact on the population that relies on farming for a livelihood.
BMC head office in Lobatse comprises an integrated complex housing an abattoir, deboning and cutting plant, cannery, rendering plant and tannery.