Farmers and councillors’ efforts to stop BMC privatization fail

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President Masisi rejects their proposal to re-open BMC Francistown plant

SESUPO RANTSIMAKO

FRANCISTOWN: Efforts by the Farmers Association in collaboration with Francistown councillors to stop the privatisation of Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) Francistown plant and re-open it have hit a snag after President Mokgweetsi Masisi rejected their proposal.
Following the closure of the plant last year due to its failure to turn a profit, the farmers made a counter proposal to the Minister of Agriculture, Patrick Ralotsia committing to supply 1050 cattle per week, exceeding the required 800 quota. However, the Minister rejected the proposal insisting that the plant is not economically viable.
“I wish to draw your attention that Francistown plant has not been operating efficiently due to low throughput. The abattoir has the capacity to slaughter 82000 cattle per annum but only managed to slaughter 4024 cattle per annum from 2006 to 2013. This is clear that it is not economical to operate the plant,” the Minister stated last year when rejecting the farmers’ proposal.
In the letter written to the Francistown council the President reportedly also rejected the proposal insisting that the need to privatise the embattled BMC plant is long overdue. He said the government has already roped in the Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatization Agency (PEEPA) to draft the strategy for the transformation.
Last year PEEPA pronounced May 2019 as the target date to have finalised the privatization strategy.