Ngamiland, Gantsi farmers form alliance

Farming activity. PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Farming activity. PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

MAUN: Ngamiland and Gantsi famers have formed an alliance in an effort to find a collective voice when lobbying for their farming interests in the two districts.

The alliance, Western Botswana Beef Producers Association (WBBP), comprises seven different farmers associations from Ngamiland and Gantsi districts.

The alliance was one of the recommendations made by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA) which has been engaged by Business Botswana to capacitate Ngamiland and Gantsi associations on better ways to run their associations.

Director of ICSA, Malcom Thompson revealed in an interview that they were engaged to “assist to upgrade the capacity of the farmers associations.”

Thompson said after meeting four Gantsi associations and three existing associations in Ngamiland, they realised that associations from the two areas need to form a lobby group as they face the same challenges. “We discovered that they have similar aspirations and problems hence the need for them to speak with one voice,” he said. Among the areas the WBBP is expected to help promote is in beef marketing and sharing of better farming ideas. Gantsi Farmers Association chairman, Alwyn van den Heever revealed that the alliance will help them present issues constructively with the relevant authorities in the two districts.

According to van den Heever, one area they hope to collaborate on is in helping the Ngamiland farmers better market their cattle which have been affected by the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

He also revealed the alliance will offer a united voice in engaging government to control the increasing number of elephant population. The elephants destroy the Kuku veterinary fence and expose the Gantsi area to FMD which is active in the neighbouring Ngamiland.

He said the Gantsi area, which is an important beef producing area in Botswana, is under threat from FMD due to the elephants’ destruction of the veterinary fences. He also revealed that elephants damage farm property and as a result Gantsi farmers incur losses.

Hureva Tjavanga, secretary of the Joint Ngamiland Farmers Association said through the alliance they hope to learn from Gantsi farmers on farming strategies and better stock breeding methods to improve their cattle breeds.

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