Farmers in the Okavango have set up a new association in the area to work towards revitalising livestock farming. The Okavango Livestock Farmers Association established recently by a group of livestock farmers from the Okavango sub district.
Following the election of office bearers, the association then touched base with with farmers, Dikgosi and Okavango Member of Parliament, Kenny Kapinga to share their mandate.
Chairman of the Association, Ndikiza Katjimune explained that livestock farmers in the district are faced a myriad of challenges that limit progress. Such challenges as the lack of knowledge on modern farming techniques, coupled with unfavourable prices set by the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC).
He noted that they want livestock farmers to apply advanced farming techniques and use technology to improve livestock production. Katjimune believes that advanced practices such as artificial insemination can play a very important role in improving livestock production if taken into consideration.
‘We intend to find accessible market for the cattle farmers in our region so that they can be able to sell their cattle at reasonable prices,” he told this publication.
Katjimune is also of the view that there is a need to empower more women and youth in the livestock industry so they also promote the programmes that can benefit them effectively.
He noted that there are some government livestock programs which are not beneficial to women and young people because of poor implementation.
Katjimune also complained that for a long time, cattle from Namibia have been into Botswana, due to poorly maintained border fence, posing a threat to the spread of Foot and Mouth disease. The chairman indicated they have since engaged the Department of Veterinary Services to ensure that the border fences are maintained.
He added that they are also hopeful that the Kgomokgwama quarantine will be operational soon, as it cushioned farmers from travelling long distance to access services at exorbitant costs.
“We used to have the Kgomokgwama quarantine which reduced the transportation costs of cattle from the Okavango region to Makalamabedi quarantine. Farmers are so desperate to take their cattle to Kgomokgwama, ’he said.