The Ghanzi Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) held a workshop at Lekanyane cattle-post on the 8th May 2017 to continue the roll out of qualifying and certifying communal farmers in the Ghanzi area for access to European Union market. Botswana Animal Information and Traceability System (BAITS) coordinator, Dr. Babayani mentioned that their department has guidelines on how communal farmers can access and sell their produce directly to the EU market without going through the feedlots. The redefined guidelines requires a farmer to clock all cattle husbandry management practices including watering, kraaling, milking and vaccination to qualify for EU market. Dr. Babayani said that the initiative would be preliminary rolled out first to some few farmers identified in the region and after implementing the guidelines, EU would be informed so that they could audit it with a view to agree and modify it to their preference as they are the ones who prescribed the requirements. Dr. Babayani is confident that the new guidelines would satisfy the EU market requirements and stated that their hope is that once these farmers have qualified, their productivity will increase and the initiative will be rolled out to the whole district and substantially the whole country. “Firstly, I thank CCB for making this trip a reality. I had an exciting opportunity to learn and understand more about BAITS. The biggest advantage about BAITS is that farmers will have a major responsibility for their cattle when comes it selling them. This sounds good because the guidelines qualifying communal cattle farmers to the EU market doesn’t require them to change the way they have been doing things, they are only expected to register a holding such as water point, kraal and ear tagging of all cattle at this registered holding and to document the husbandry management activities. This is a very good initiative and we are welcoming it with hands wide open, ‘’ states Ofeletse Thaushe – Ghanzi Small Stock Farmers Network.
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