Gaborone — Government is in the process of equipping five boreholes in the Lake Ngami area to assist farmers with livestock water sources, following the ferocious drought that has struck the area.
Addressing the media on Wednesday, Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Mr Fidelis Molao stated that the impact of the drying of Lake Ngami has turned the jewel of Ngamiland into a reek of rotting carcasses.
The drying up of the lake, which has over the years been the source of life for livestock farmers, he said has now turned into a death trap for the very same life it provided for the at least 386 livestock officially reported to have perished in the muddy Lake Ngami.
Mr Molao said the carcasses have been removed from the lake and disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.
To remedy the situation, the minister said government continues to put in place strategies to address agriculture-related challenges, saying the ministry and other stakeholders, including the North West leadership, are constantly on the ground to find ways to end farmers' woes.
"The borehole equipping in the Lake Ngami catchment area will not only provide water for livestock, but will also keep away livestock from the muddy lake. The ministry is optimistic to have effectively dealt with the problem around the second week of October 2019," he said.
Mr Molao therefore pleaded with Ngamiland farmers to constantly monitor their cattle movement so that they do not stray into the lake.
Furthermore, he highlighted that as part of drought mitigation efforts, government has decided to permit export of live cattle.
"Botswana government has granted a temporarily window for export of live cattle for slaughter with proper and adequate monitoring protocols as drought bites, subject to review by the end of March 2020," he said.
He said each farmer is allowed to export a maximum of 30 percent of their total herd.
The minister said the decision is meant to assist farmers to avert possible loss of cattle due to severe impact of drought.
He indicated that the export of live cattle for slaughter will be subjected to the Botswana Meat Commission Act and import requirements of the countries to which the export will be intended.
Mr Molao further stated that government has since announced a 35 percent subsidy on livestock feed and supplements, an initiative running from June this year to June 30, 2020.
Source : BOPA