BOTSWANA – Botswana is seeking to expand its beef market and is currently working to secure an agreement allowing beef exports into the vast Chinese market.

According to, Fidelis Molao, the country’s Minister of Agriculture, the Chinese market offers an interesting opportunity to increase exports.

“We are hoping to sign a deal that will very soon provide the Chinese people with a perfect opportunity to taste the succulent beef from Botswana,” he said.

Molao also disclosed that Botswana is also looking forward to entering into the space of citrus product exports as of 2024.

“And we will be looking at China and other markets for our products in that regard,” said Molao, adding that the fruits that Botswana is planning to grow are oranges, pineapples, pawpaw and mangoes.

Data from USDA, a US-based federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to farming, forestry, rural economic development, and food, China became the leading import market for beef and beef products in 2019, ahead of the United States with purchases of US$8.4 billion.

Like its neighbors South Africa and Namibia, Botswana is a big exporter of beef, and was the ninth largest beef exporter to the European Union in 2019, though its earnings from beef exports have dropped from US$130 million in 2010 to US$80 million in 2018.

In 2020, the Southern Africa country, opened up its beef industry to allow farmers to export their meat directly.

The state-owned Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) was before then the sole entity licensed to export beef, with farmers complaining they are forced to sell to the loss-making organisation for low prices and that payment often comes late.

After the opening, Botswana aimed to export at least 10,000 tonnes of beef to China annually, according to an announcement from the office of the president.

“China has opened its market for Botswana beef and the first consignment will arrive by the end of the first quarter of 2021,” the announcement noted.

Botswana’s beef had been banned over two decades ago amid animal health controls, particularly on contagious bovine pleuropneumonia and the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Botswana’s northwestern district of Ngamiland.

Chinese customs lifted the ban on Botswana beef and beef by-products from FMD-free areas in February 2020.

Currently, Botswana produces about 24,000 tonnes of beef a year through its meat-processing company, Botswana Meat Commission. About 9,000 tonnes are exported to the European Union.

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