Govt backtracks on farms’ privatization

Tomatoes incubator at Glen Valley farm
Tomatoes incubator at Glen Valley farm

Government has reversed its decision to privatise the Glen Valley and Dikabeya farms. The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) spokesperson, Boikhutso Rabasha told Mmegi Business the reversal comes on the back of improvement in the economy.

She said the decision to privatise was taken at the height of economic slowdown as a result of global financial crisis. The MoA, through the National Master Plan for Arable Agriculture and Dairy Products (NAMPAAD), engaged Public Enterprise Evaluation and Privatisation Agency (PEEPA) in 2012 to review and undertake a study on the prospect of privatisation of Glen Valley and Dikabeya farms.

 “This was as a result of the economic slowdown which impacted on the ministry’s budget and NAMPAAD was not an exception,” explained Rabasha. The ministry decided to do a review of the financial liabilities, human resources and risks associated with the farms. Rabasha said a few people had expressed interest in the tender for the privatisation of the 13ha Glen Valley Farm , which is located 10km north of Gaborone.

Almost nine hectares have been used to plant olives. Another 0.5ha has butternuts and 0.25ha has pepper and tomatoes. The farm uses recycled water for irrigation.

In the 2015-2016 national budget, the MoA was awarded the fifth largest share of development funds at P1.1 billion or 8.5 percent. The bulk of the amount will be used for the implementation of agricultural support schemes such as ISPAAD and LIMID at P730m, Zambezi Water Development at P200m, and Pandamatenga Infrastructure Development Project at P100m.

The Dikabeya Farm is a production and training facility located 20km north of Palapye next to Bonwakatlhako Dam in the Central District. The eight-hectare farm has an open field protected for cultivation, a storeroom, office, seedling nursery and packing room. The farm uses dam water for irrigation. Last month, the ministry announced that it has leased the four-hectare Sunny Side Farms near Otse to a South Africa couple, Rob and Erica Ter Hofte in a 15-year contract. The partnership under NAMPAAD is expected to provide local dairy farmers with practical training.

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