Botswana: Preserve Indigenous Crops – Autlwetse
By Tshepo Mongwa
Serule — The Assistant Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security Mr Kgotla Autlwetse has called on farmers to retrace their steps and start planting indigenous field crops alongside open pollinated and hybrid ones.
He raised a concern that indigenous field crops seemed to be disappearing and they needed to be preserved for future use.
Addressing a kgotla meeting in Serule recently, Mr Autlwetse who is also Member of Parliament for Serowe North explained that indigenous field crops were good for field crop production in the country as they could withstand harsh climatic conditions experienced in the country.
On other issues, he noted that beef measles was still a concern in the country. He said it had a negative impact on beef industry citing that in most cases, 10 per cent of beef from cattle slaughtered at the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) was rejected due to measles.
He indicated that measles was caused by human waste advising farmers to build toilets at their fields and cattle posts.
Mr Autlwetse also touched on the issue of administering ear-tags.
He said government had also come up with a decision that livestock without the tags would not be vaccinated or be allowed to be sold at the BMC.
He said such measures had been put in place to motivate and encourage farmers to administer ear-tags on their livestock. He explained that ear-tags played an important role in tracing where beef came from and who the cattle owners were.
The legislator went on to indicate that government had decided to make purchase prices of small livestock in all citizen empowerment programmes such as the Poverty Eradication Programme, LIMID and Youth Empowerment Programmes to be uniform.
He said the price tag for goats and sheep had been raised from P700 to P1000 while billy goats and rams had been upgraded from P1500 to P2000.
In regard to the P10 million constituency development fund, Mr Aultwetse explained that his constituency had eight wards and each ward would receive P1.1 million for community projects.
He said Serule and Gojwane will be entitled to P1.1 million because the two villages make one council ward.
He noted that earlier on he held a series of meetings with community leaders such as dikgosi, Village Development Committees, councilors and other community committees to prioritise on which projects should be implemented in the villages/ward.
Regarding the project to provide Damochujenaa, Gojwane, Serule, and Moreomabele with water from Letsibogo Dam, Mr Aultwetse said research to determine the magnitude of project and how the project would be implemented was still ongoing.
He called on residents of the villages to be patient noting that the implementation of the project was anticipated to take place after two years after all research, Environmental Impact Assessment and budget had been made. In the meantime, he said the villages would continue receiving water from boreholes. BOPA
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