GANTSI: Farmers are worried about the state of their herds, as the drought diminishes the quality of cattle and the prices they fetch.
This week, Gantsi township chief, Botshelo Lekgothu, told Mmegi that farmers were in for difficult times as the market for their cattle was shrinking.
In May, the Ministry of Agriculture urged all farmers to de-stock in order to extract value from their beasts, instead of waiting for their conditions to deteriorate to the point where no revenue could be salvaged.
“Farmers do not have anywhere to sell their cattle. People are going to watch their cattle die because they do not have any market to sell them. Besides if they sell them at the Botswana Meat Commission, it takes ages for them to be paid. They need to sell their cattle so that they can buy the remaining beasts feed,” he said.
In June, some farmers from Ncojane and Kole took over the BMC’s Gantsi office protesting against overdue payments. The farmers camped outside the office and held BMC employees hostage to demand their money.
As pastures in the arid district worsen, Kgosi Lekgothu said he was also keeping his fingers crossed that there would be no veldt fires this season, which are a perennial headache in the area especially in winter and spring.
Lekgothu said despite public education campaigns, people still cause veldt fires carelessly.
“Some people do it intentionally saying they want fresh grass to grow when the rains come while others carelessly discard cigarette stubs or flammable substances,” he said. “We always talk to people and make them aware of the dangers of burning the forest but they ignore our warnings and continue to with their behaviour.”