Botswana resumes beef exports

The disease broke out last month, forcing the country to suspend beef exports from its Lobatse abattoir to the European Union.

The country’s Department of Animal Health and Production (DAHP) said the ban on slaughtering animals that was imposed following the outbreak of the disease in the Bobonong Extension Area (Zone Seven), has been lifted.

With immediate effect, beasts to the Lobatse Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) Abattoir will be sourced from areas or zones south of Mokoro disease control cordon fence, which starts from the Mahalpye area going southwards.

The EU, according to a press statement from the commission, has agreed to take beef derived from cattle sourced from zones 10, 11, 12 and 13, which are slaughtered at the abattoir.<BR>
Following the outbreak at Selebi Phikwe, a town that borders Zimbabwe and South Africa, Namibia also slapped a ban on meat imports from its neighbouring country in line with international regulations that are taken in such cases.

Although Namibia does not import meat from Botswana, the measures were just cautionary, as travellers are likely to bring in animals, meat and meat products into Namibia for their consumption.

Consequently, Namibia also lifted the ban from all the other zones except for zones 8 and 9, which are on the Botswana border with Zimbabwe.

Cleophas Bamhare, directorate of Veterinary Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, said the country was accepting meat and meat products from the rest of the country except the two zones.

A Press statement from the Botswana Meat Commission said there are ongoing negotiations at the moment with the county’s trading partners to open Francistown abattoir and the public would be informed in due course after the finalisation of the negotiations.

The commission further urged livestock farmers to continue supporting efforts to manage the outbreak and ensure that they complied with livestock products movement restrictions.

In addition to this, the Botswana Meet Commission has also decided to do away with the measles penalty and while the department of animal health and production will continue to inspect carcasses and detain the measly ones, the commission would continue to treat them and make them safe for consumption.

“The extra cost of this treatment will now be borne by Botswana Meet Commission and not the farmers,” it said.

This means that the cattle will be paid the same price whether they have measles or not.

Meanwhile, Suashish Diamonds Limited, the US$200 million diamond processing and exports group, is to start diamond training institute in Botswana ‘ the largest supplier of diamonds in the world in value terms – early next month.

Besides, Suashish Diamonds Limited is also planning to set up a diamond processing unit there and has already obtained licence from the Botswana government.

“The diamond processing units are still on paper for which we are working hard to turn it into reality,” Siddharth Kedia, general manager (marketing) of Suashish Diamonds Limited, said.

He refused to divulge the amount being invested on both projects in Botswana.

In collaboration with local partners, Suashish Diamonds Limited has plans to open 30 retail outlets in the Middle East mainly in Dubai and Saudi Arabia in the next three months.

Selling its jewellery under the brand name Ishi’s, Suashish Diamonds Limited is running about 100 outlets in India in a joint venture with local retail bigwigs.

“Dubai being the most potential region in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia seconds that, the group chairman is presently exploring the possibilities their.

“Negotiations are on with local partners and final decision would be reached in a month,” Kedia added.

Suashish Diamonds Limited has announced a capex of US$1 million in the next five years which includes setting up a gold jewellery unit at its existing premises in Mumbai.

In another development, certain parastatals are likely to be merged as part of the rationalisation and privatisation process by the government of Botswana.

Leading the pack are parastatals in the education sector like Botswana Training Authority (BOTA), Tertiary Education Council (TEC) and Botswana Examination Council (BEC).

These and others are some of the targeted organisations due for a merger according to a presentation by the Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatisation Agency (PEEPA).

PEEPA made the proposals at a workshop for the presentation of a draft on rationalisation and merger of public enterprises. During the workshop, participants suggested that some parastatals should merge straight away while others should be left intact.

In its presentation to stakeholders, PEEPA said entities earmarked for rationalisation cut across from all sectors of the economy from education to service providers.

July 2006
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