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Botswana seeks to increase its national herd with insemination programme

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Botswana will on Wednesday take delivery of more than 150 breeding cattle procured from the US for the country’s Revised Artificial Insemination Programme.

In a statement, the agriculture ministry’s spokesperson Moreri Moesi said the majority of the cattle are bulls and their role would be to produce quality animals.

“The cattle consist of 141 bulls and 21 heifers of elite animal genetics, which will be used in the production of germplasm in the form of embryos and semen for the domestic and export market,” he said.

Without mentioning the breed, Moesi said the cattle would be received by President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Botswana is seeking to increase its national herd which stands between 2.5 and 2.8 million, according to the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC).

“The importation of these elite breeds is consistent with the objectives of the Revised Artificial Insemination Programme, which, among others, are to increase the national herd and improve their genetic merit through the adoption of the use of new technologies, promotion of private sector participation and provision of high-quality germplasm,” added Moesi.

Botswana is one of Africa’s top beef exporters to the European Union (EU).

Its annual exports to the EU are estimated to be around 9 000 tonnes.

Last year due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, the country slaughtered 10 000 cattle. This was the first major outbreak in two years, forcing Botswana to suspend all beef exports on 24 August.