No small stock agreement in place with either Norway or Saudi Arabia
Last August, President Mokgweetsi Masisi proudly announced that the country had secured ‘lucrative’ markets in Saudi Arabia and Norway for sheep and goat meat.
“Botswana would have started exporting small stock meat to the two countries this May were it not for the Covid-19 pandemic,” declared Masisi at the time, adding the two nations required at least one million tons of small stock meat annually.
However, it recently emerged in parliament that there is no signed agreement between Botswana and either country regarding the export of small stock meat.
This came to light after Member of Parliament for Jwaneng-Mabutsane, Mephato Reatile enquired on the nature of the presidentially acclaimed agreement.
He wanted the Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Karabo Gare to specifically state when such an agreement was signed, the terms of the agreement, and opportunities for small stock farmers in Botswana.
In response, Gare admitted no formal agreement has yet been reached and no contracts signed.
“However, preparations for the initiative have commenced and the necessary paperwork has been initiated,” he maintained.
Regarding the terms of the agreement, the Minister explained once the arrangement has entered into force, there will be tariff reductions and preferential market access of small stock meant and meat bi-products from Botswana.
“The agreement also removes tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, which will increase the competitiveness of our small stock meat for transmission of value to local farmers,” he added.
According to Gare, the opportunities created by the agreement once it is signed include unlocking the value chain in the keeping, handling, and general management of small stock for sustainable job opportunities in the country.
“It opens opportunities for production and sale of livestock feed, local transportation businesses, and livestock medical care for small stock amongst other things,” concluded Gare, who would not be drawn into mentioning when the agreements might be signed.