Maun — Farmers in Ngamiland have been advised to utilise programmes in place to advance their enterprises.
Acting Minister of Agriculture, Mr Molebatsi Molebatsi gave the advise during a meeting with farmers in Maun on Friday.
He cited the subsidy, which offered 100 per cent grant for the solar electrification of fields in elephant-prone areas, noting that it was done in collaboration with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks.
He said the subsidy would benefit farmers in Ngamiland as the area was rife with human-wildlife conflict.
Mr Molebatsi said government was committed to ensuring quality and increased livestock population and that there were measures in place to achieve the goal.
The acting minister said the artificial insemination centre in Ramatlabama was intended to improve livestock quality and production in the country.
Mr Molebatsi also said government continued to benchmark on how to develop livestock and small stock from developed countries.
He said agriculture had the potential to unlock business opportunities through its value chain industries, adding that the aim was to stimulate an export-led economy and that the ministry was seeking markets in countries such as China and the United States of America.
Botswana, he said, had a small population and that it was imperative to have markets in Africa and the rest of the world, which could be achieved by producing quality beef.
Furthermore, Mr Molebatsi noted that the last Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak in Ngamiland was recorded in 2020.
He said the ministry was committed to fighting livestock diseases that affected the district.
The acting minister said that the cordon fences that separated livestock from wild animals in the district was destroyed by elephants and some vandals.
Commenting, Mr Frank Mafela said the subsidy was a welcome development and that an electric fence would help farmers against elephants.
Another farmer, Mr Sesentle Madise said the farmers in Ngamiland needed an artificial insemination centre like Ramatlabama.
Mr Gabriel Wellio said government should ensure proper maintenance of cordon fences and that it should increase patrols to achieve the intended goals.
He complained that goats did not have a standard price and that farmers were swindled by butchery owners.
Another farmer, Mr Keloitsang Ledimo said the subsidy was a positive development, but that the challenge was a delay in implementation as responsible offices were 'awaiting guidelines'.
Mr Ledimo also said although farmers appreciated the improved prices by Botswana Meat Commission, the challenge was delayed payments by the institution.