Talana Farms axes 131 workers

Talana Farms is retrenching 131 workers after losing P10 million due to heavy floods that occurred in 2013.

The wholly-owned Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) subsidiary embarked on the exercise late last year and is expected to wrap up by July 1.

The company employs 428 workers, with 200 of them being permanent although the number frequently jumps to around 800 during the peak season.

Sources close to the iconic agricultural venture said while Talana Farms is frequently affected by the floods, the 2013 deluge was the worst, costing P10 million in losses. BDC head of Business development, Kamogelo Kesiilwe said Talana Farms could only re-employ the workers if it fully recovers.

“The 131 workers have been advised to take unpaid leave and we will consider taking them back if we have recovered. Our biggest challenge is the unprecedented floods and the road. Our clients cannot access the farm when it has rained or when using small cars.’’ “The 2013 floods were so bad that even wildlife people were catching crocodiles in the farm,” he said.

Kesiilwe said production had been slow since the floods, worsening the farm’s financial performance. “Some of our operating equipment needs to be serviced and the road inside the farm also need to be attended to.

“Government should consider building a tarred road through to the productive areas. The BDC will do all it can to ensure that Talana Farms produces for the nation,” he said. Meanwhile the area MP, Shaw Kgathi said he would speak to his transport colleague to consider building better roads in areas where the country expects production.

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