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Botswana chickens a threat to EU beef market

The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) deputy director, Dr Kefentse Motshegwa has said that they will start to implement new policies to protect the beef industry from a potent danger posed by antibiotic drugs. The deputy director’s tone was clear the beef sector must be protected jealously against imprudent practices from poultry farmers.

Motshegwa revealed at a poultry industry players meeting in Gaborone that, poultry breeders are threatening Botswana Meat Commission’s (BMC) European Union (EU) beef market by a wild use of antibiotic drugs on poultry, for disease prevention instead of cure.

The beef sector is estimated to account for less than 2% of Botswana's GDP. The cattle and beef industry has traditionally played an important role in the Botswana economy and society, with significant contributions to GDP, exports, and employment. Renowned Economic expert Dr Keith Jefferies has argued continuously that “The beef and cattle sector is probably the most heavily protected economic activity in Botswana, in that, apart from BMC’s beef exports, international trade in beef and cattle is prohibited.”

Observers at the symposium are of the view that the latest pronouncement on poultry effects on beef sector may be loaded.

The deputy director said that because poultry have a simple digestive system which digests only 60% of feed, the remaining 40% of undigested feed along with administered antibiotic drugs passes with litter, which  when given to cattle as feeds will raise antibiotic levels in EU destined beef to cosmological levels.

Antibiotic medication is a long lasting drug in the body of an animal and feeding cattle chicken manure was banned in the country in 2004.

Motshegwa also said that careless application of antibiotic treatment to poultry also threatens to breed antimicrobial or drug resistance which can take many years to reverse through the developing of new medication that beats new drug resistant disease strains.

“It is very dangerous to feed cattle chicken manure as it can easily bring the economy of the country down to its knees,” he said.

He also added that, in December 2015 they were startled by the amounts of reported antibiotic drugs that were coming into the country. He said that a collective of 6600 kilograms of antibiotic drugs was reported and 1000 kilograms came through the now defunct Livestock Advisory Center (LAC).

He then said that they suspect the remaining 5600 kilograms was going to those who sell animal drugs to poultry breeders and that they also suspect that there is underreporting of antibiotics that come into the country.

“Somebody is busy supplying to those who do poultry and that is very dangerous,” Motshegwa said.

It has also emerged that the careless disposal of poultry manure has even reached the frontiers of wildlife conservation as a study on warthog population in Savuti recently detected high amounts of antibiotics in the wild pigs.

Motshegwa said that there is absolutely no need to give chickens antibiotic drugs as chicken feed naturally comes from the manufacturers already medicated with antibiotics and the fact that local poultry breeders also medicate their poultry, means that they are overdosing it. He also said that good management practice of poultry business is also naturally easy prevention tact.

Furthermore, it was revealed that big time poultry industries situated along the river banks of Notwane have a hand in polluting the river.

Letsweletse Montsho from Water Affairs-Pollution Control Unit said that there is a serious pollution in the Notwane river as there is no proper waste management systems which results in chicken manure making its way into the river.

He further asserted that it had created a cross border problem as the nitrates that are also found in chicken manure have been shown to have a hand in the exponential boom of aquatic weed in Notwane and further downstream in the Limpopo river on the South African side, which gobbles up more river water and chokes the life out of other aquatic plants.

Industry stakeholders have recommend penalties for beef producers who use chicken manure to feed their animals such as being banned from exporting beef to EU as well as registration of poultry breeders for monitoring, among others.

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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