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Tawana Land Board (TLB) TLB Secretary Dothodzo Tabengwa has revealed that the board has so far allocated 200 ranches, and some of these remain undeveloped while other have become nothing more that cattle posts.
In a wide ranging interview this week, Tabengwa opined there is a new trend where some ranches are now used for agro-tourism purposes.
This he said goes against their objective of leasing ranches to Batswana at fully develop and take advantage and the agricultural sector while in the process creating employment. Tabengwa has since urged Ngamiland farmers to fence and develop their ranches as well as to try new rangeland management strategies aimed to greatly improve their productivity and profitability.
He further said the concept behind ranch development is ideal for farmers to benefit from various government programmes such as the artificial insemination to improve the quality of their cattle.
Tabengwa has also raised concern over the rising disputes over ownership of ranches once the owners pass on, urging the owners to make an inheritance plans to avoid such conflicts.
“For ranches allocated to syndicates I plead with them to develop constitutions which will help on issues of governance as well as how the ranch is passed to the next,” Tabengwa advised.
Meanwhile the board’s chairperson Reamogetse Yakenge raised concern over rising claims of ‘Matlotla’ or ruins in prime areas of the Okavango Delta. Yakenge noted with concern that most claims are from as far as 1940. She explained that often people claim them as ploughing fields and at a later stage convert them to tourism businesses.
This Yakenge said causes a conflict as some areas’ exclusive rights are already held by Community Based Organizations (CBOs) for tourism purposes.
Yakenge has also revealed that TLB is owed P58 million in annual lease arrears. The arrears are also that of companies and individuals who have been allocated business plots and land for common law uses.
“For concession areas we are owed around P23 million, agriculture including ranches and small stock is P6 million, commercial industrial civic while for community plots the arrears stands at P28 million pula making a total of P58 million of money owed to us,” she revealed.
Yakenge indicated that most of the reasons advanced by those owing land board are that their businesses were disrupted by Covid-19. She indicated that the board has so far not taken any action against those owing but have instead advised them to make payment plans aimed at clearing the debts.