Thursday, July 7, 2022

Botswana revives Mafisa system to prop up agro-tourism

Botswana government has embarked on a project that harks back to the traditional Mafisa system in a bid to boost the country’s pastoral agriculture.

The Mafisa system was when rich cattle owners loaned one or more head of cattle to a poor man without any cattle. Each man who took the cattle into his keeping became responsible for the care and well being of the animals and received in exchange the right to the milk produced and some of the offspring.

Under the project, government loans start up livestock to budding farmers who would use it to breed and then pass up to other aspiring livestock farmers.

Tuduetso Pretty Nkunyane, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism on Friday said the animals will remain government property.

“And after successful breeding of the animals, the applicant would be expected to donate to another authorised farmer or government, the same number of animals that they would have received as start-up animals,” said Nkunyane in a statement.

She said the transactions would be authorised and supervised by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, and only permissible after written approvals.

“Each applicant will be given no more than five animals per species in their permit,” said Nkunyane.

According to the government the species to be availed under this start-up support scheme are limited to Impala, Gemsbok and Zebra, Eland, and Warthog.

The dispensation is open until July 31, 2022, and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks urges the nation to take advantage of the program to enhance their tourism product and contribute to development of associated wildlife value chains. 

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