Masisi’s Charm Offensive On Ngamiland Farmers

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The first ever Ngamiland Farmers Field Day, held over the weekend at Mowana Twin Farm on the outskirts of Nokaneng gave President Mokgweetsi Masisi a perfect opportunity to address farmers from different associations under one roof on various programmes his government has initiated to address the myriad of challenges they face.

Masisi took the opportunity first to acknowledge the challenges the farmers in the area have had to endure for decades, particularly human wildlife conflict that had rendered farming tall order as this led to lack markets for their cattle.

While emphasising that the two sectors, farming and tourism in the district have to both succeed, side by side, Masisi said his government stands ready to provide solutions through initiatives that are already lined up to revitalised the industry.

He further noted that the challenges faced by Ngamiland farmers which were again presented to him by the various speakers at the event, among them the state of operations by the BMC, issues of late payments, diseases, human wildlife conflicts, the issue of quarantines where cattle spent 30 days before slaughter and the AI centre among others were being addressed.

Masisi further indicated that having launched the Temo Letlotlo initiative that replaced ISPAAD, government will later this month launch, its twin programme Thuo Letlotlo in Serowe. The programme will specifically seek to help revive the livestock sector – which he says was left battered over the years Worse, Masisi said the Ngamiland farmer has been the hardest hit – alleging wildlife that back tourism has for the longest time been held in high regard, as compared to livestock.

Masisi, as would have been expected elaborated on a grand plan that he has for the livestock sector in Ngamiland, adding that should his government retain power at the national polls in October, he would successfully put their programmes to fruition during his last term.

This as the country goes for the national elections, where Masisi will be seeking re-election under the ruling BDP to finish his second and final term.

To this end Masisi hinted that another initiative, the third for the Agriculture sector – Magokanyane Letlotlo and in his words making them all triplets. Temo, Thuo and Magokanyane Letlotlo!

Though cagey with the details and preferring to keep them under the sleeves for now – Masisi said the initiative will involve use of technology in farming – adding that all these programmes will embrace issues of value chain development in them.

Meanwhile addressing the concerns around BMC, and some farmers’ perceptions that the institution was on its deathbed, the BMC Chief Executive Officer David Tsheboeng revealed that the organisation was not about to die. He said BMC was currently in the process of implementing its Meriting Strategy of 2021 which puts emphasis on unlocking the potential of non-performing assets, developing value chains and value addition.

“We currently have a budget for the construction of a value addition and processing plant at our Lobatse plant,” he said, highlighting that its completion would ensure profitability which would in turn benefit farmers.

Tsheboeng has further revealed, to the relief of Ngamiland farmers that the BMC is also in the process to accredit its Maun plant for the United Arab Emirates market to remove the current restrictions on the sale of the beef from Ngamiland. This will expose the beef to a bigger market that buys at better prices.

While the Farmers field day was an initiative by the North West Integrated Farmers Association (NWIFA) and Nhabe Agricultural Management Association (NAMA), he expressed his wish for the Hainaveld Farmers Association to have been a part of the inaugural event.

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