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Farmers in the Okavango district will have to continue incurring the heavy costs of transporting their cattle to Makalamabedi quarantine at least up until June this year when the one located within that area becomes operational.
For a very long time the farmers have been complaining about the financial burden they are forced to bear either to transport or herd their cattle from Okavango down to Makalamabedi Quarantine Camp before they can be sold for slaughter at the Botswana Meat Commission. The farmers have been calling for the resuscitation of the Kgomokgwana quarantine which they argued will be of great relieve to them.
Member of Parliament for Okavango Kenny Kapinga has this week asked the Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Molebatsi Molebatsi to give an update about the progress made to resuscitate the quarantine.
He also wanted to know the exact or approximate date when the quarantine will be opened for use by farmers and when artificial insemination will become accessible to farmers in the Okavango constituency. The MP also wanted to know if there was any intention to convene a farmer’s day in the Okavango and if so, when such can be expected.
In response, Molebatsi revealed that their expectation is that the quarantine camp will start to operate in June 2023. He explained that the delay in its resuscitation was caused by the Covid-19 pandemic just like other government services that were shelved. Molebatsi is hopeful that the quarantine will therefore be operational by the set time so that it can benefit the farmers.
Meanwhile the assistant minister has stated that his ministry is continuing with its efforts to bring the artificial insemination services to the Okavango region so that it can become accessible to farmers.
He added that the ministry is also revamping the artificial insemination program indicating that they have engaged private companies to conduct the program. Molebatsi stressed that other artificial insemination services will be privatised so that they can be done by the private sector.
He explained that besides that they also engage the Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) to assist them so that they can continue with the program.
“We are also considering doing some artificial insemination camps which will be operated by the members of the community like we are doing in some Southern part of the country,” he said.
Regarding government’s intention to convene a farmer’s day in Okavango, Molebatsi said that it is not responsibility of the ministry to organise that, but theirs is only to advise the farmers to it themselves. He added that their efforts as the ministry are to identify the excelling farmers and help them to publicise the farmer’s day so that it can become a success.