JWANENG: The Mayor of Jwaneng, Tsietsi Oodira-Kwenje has called on the Ngwaketse West farmers to support his vision of diversifying the economy of the town through commercial farming.
Speaking at a workshop for farmers here recently, Oodira-Kwenje said the backbone of the town is currently diamond mining adding that other sectors should be looked at to augment mining.
The workshop brought together financial institutions and other stakeholders in farming like the Mosisedi Farmers Association to discuss how they could help each other move forward.
He added that benchmarking was done earlier this year from the SPEDU initiative to see how they can diversify the economy. The Mayor further said it was vital for farmers to fully participate in associations to solicit one voice that can speak for them.
He said through farmers associations, they can enjoy benefits which include negotiated low interest rates on loans at commercial banks and social welfare benefits that include funeral covers.
Oodira-Kwenje, who has a year in office, presented a road map last year in his mayoral inauguration that he would like to see the Jwaneng economy diversified through commercial farming, tourism and youth empowerment.
He said commercial farming has the ability to sustain the mining town in the long run, and urged farmers to soldier on despite challenges.
The council has so far availed a seat for the Jwaneng Chamber of Commerce association and the mayor called on farmers to organise their association so that they can also have a seat.
He urged them to refrain from politics in their association.
“I urge you to resurrect cluster farming, commit to the association and profile and identify what each farmer can offer from their fields,” he added.
Farmers were of the view that the workshop came handy at a time when the country is experiencing low rainfall, adding that they need guidance and empowerment during these trying times.
They applauded the mayor for believing in them by diversification of the town’s economy through farming.