Botswana is targeting alternative markets in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe as it seeks to expand the catchment area for its beef exports, a cabinet minister announced Wednesday. Agriculture Minister Patrick Ralotsia said the country has sent “test consignments” to the Middle East, Far East, Angola, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo and Eastern Europe.
Botswana’s major beef export is the European Union (EU).
Presenting to the Parliamentary Committee on Supply on the recurrent and development budget for his ministry, Ralotsia said the country has fulfilled the Norwegian annual quota of 1,600 tonnes for chilled beef and exported 8,027 tonnes of beef to the European markets.
The minister said the EU carried out an audit of animal health and controls in Botswana in October 2015.
“The audit was a follow-up to the 2013 audit which had resulted in the suspension of the disease control areas mainly due to foot and mouth disease (FMD) concerns. The purpose of the audit was to verify progress made by the country in addressing the deficiencies identified in the 2013 audit,” said Ralotsia.
He said these included deficiencies in disease surveillance and biosecurity to prevent incursion of the disease from non-free areas to free areas.
Ralotsia said the audit was largely positive, with the auditors acknowledging significant progress in addressing the deficiencies.