Botswana snubbed US researchers
The Botswana MeatCommission ParliamentSelect Committeelast week resumed the lastleg of its hearings upon its returnfrom abroad.The trip included extensivebriefi ngs and inspections ofBMC’s subsidiaries and commercialoperations located inCapetown (Table Bay ColdStorage) and BMC (UK)Holdings in London. A criticalpart of the Committee’sprogramme entailed meetingwith European Union offi cialsat its trade division in Brussels,as well as the DirectorateGeneral for Health and Consumersin Brussels.
Mephato Reatile who headsthe Committee, last weekrevealed that the neighbouringNamibia is about to enterthe United States of America(USA) market while Botswanadeclined to cooperate withthe US researchers. The researcherswere reportedly inBotswana assessing if USAcan buy meat from Botswanabut the Department of VeterinaryServices (DVS) snubbedthem.Reatile said this as he enlightenedDeputy PermanentSecretary (Technical Services)in the Ministry of Agriculture,Dr Moetapele Letshwenyowho appeared before the Committeeon Thursday.
Reatilefurther asked Dr Letshwenyoif he was aware of such a matter.In response, Dr Letshwenyoindicated that he was notaware of such, but “I overheardthat Namibians wereworking with some Namibianfarmers to export to USA. Ifwe were afforded the opportunitythen we did not grab itthen that I do not know.”Furthermore, Reatile, who isalso the area Member of Parliamentfor Ngwaketse Westrevealed that Brussels has indicatedthat they no longer trustBotswana as compared to thepast. This follows their concernsthat Botswana, throughDVS does not forward reportsupdate to the EU as part of theagreement.
Dr Letshwenyo said Botswanadoes report and surprisingly,the EU inspectorshave never raised the issuewhen they were in the countryfor inspections. Furthermore,he said trying to stop animalmovement has remained a majorchallenge. “EU compliancethat is usually done is gettingmore and more diffi cult everyyear as they indicated that theyare going with what their consumerswant. We should aggressivelyseek other markets,however; we should be readyto be paid less as comparedto the EU market which paysgood prices,” he added.