Batawana intend to call on President Ian Khama to brief him on the bleak situation they are facing as a result of drought and a lack of market for their cattle. This was confirmed by Senwelo Modisaemang, a member of the Batawana community, who says they intend to send a delegation to meet Khama “as soon as possible”.
The idea of sending a delegation to the President follows realization that the situation had got out of hand and audience with Khama would lead to assistance.
Modisaemang said that they would among other things request the President to bail out farmers in the region by cancelling loans they had taken out with National Development Bank and CEDA as they had no means of servicing them.
“Recently in the district we have experienced deaths of cattle in big numbers which will make it impossible for us to pay the loans as such we will ask for a bail out,” he said.
Besides owing the two banks, farmers also owe government money they were borrowed using their cattle as surety immediately after the closure of the Maun Botswana Meat Commission plant following the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the region, Modisaemang said.
He said thousands of cattle had died as a result of the drought which led to lack of pasture for grazing in Ngamiland. According to reports, some roads in the district are littered with dead cattle.