Botswana: Initiative Gives Exposure

Gookodisa — The host of the seventh cabinet and presidential COVID-19 task team meetings to be held at a farm says "the initiative has brought maximum exposure to our farms."

Ms Hilda Senome, 53, owner of Gookodisa Mountain View Farm sandwiched between Thamaga and Moshupa along the A10 Road, said hosting the high level meetings was a marketing tool on its own as potential customers would start noticing her farm.

Thanking the president for the initiative, Ms Senome, who ventured into agro-tourism in 2017, said although she was still new in the business arena, having been selected to host the meeting showed that government recognised her efforts.

The Manyana born farmer, who retired at the age of 50 as principal immigration officer at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, said she invested almost 75 per cent of her pension on the three-hectare farm, developing infrastructure including drilling a borehole and connecting electricity.

About half a hectare of the farm is for vegetable farming while other portions are for chicken broilers and layers as well as Tswana chickens, geese and small stock plus a garden for hosting events.

Ms Senome said she planned to expand the business to make it a complete farm stay by putting up a bed and breakfast facility and a farm shop.

Although there were challenges such as high input costs, Ms Senome is determined to be a success in agro-tourism and is counting on her managerial expertise to thrive in the business.

She said if more Batswana could embrace agro-tourism, the sector would grow into a fully-fledged industry.

Assistant minister of Basic Education and also a member of Parliamentary Caucus for Women Ms Nnaniki Makwinja applauded the host farmer's efforts especially that she did not take comfort that she was salaried but quit her stable job to pursue farming.

She commended Ms Senome for displaying courage noting that women could still do more and be players in the country's econom.

The assistant minister urged women to fully take advantage of opportunities presented by farming.

Neither the size of the land nor the depth of one's pockets mattered but having passion for farming was what counted, Ms Makwinja said.

The agro-tourism initiative is aimed at distributing resources to stimulate economic activity.

Source : BOPA

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