Sunday, October 25, 2020

Inside new guidelines allowing Batswana farmers become game ranchers

Game farming guidelines aimed at enabling Batswana with an interest in small game or wildlife in their fields have been revealed.  

According to the guidelines, a copy of which has been seen by The Telegraph, every citizen of Botswana (individual or companies) with land and has an intention to keep game animals on it shall be eligible to have game as part of their production in a field.

The guidelines state that interested individuals will be expected to make an application to the Director of Wildlife and National Parks accompanied by a project proposal, documenting the intentions of the applicant.

“Any Motswana with a field (tshimo) can apply for keeping of wild animals on their land. The person should provide the following; Certified copy of National Identity , certified copy of proof of property ownership/lease/ title deed, letter of consent, if borrowed, size of the land, description and coverage of vegetation in the field  and existing developments in the area if any (a sketch plan would do),”read part of the guidelines. 

Mokgweetsi Masisi, announced on May 30, 2020 that his government would allow farmers in the country to keep small game on their farms to encourage locals’ participation in agro-tourism.

To start up the project one will stock with the help of other exisng farms/ranches, through, donations, raffle if quota is available from the wild and government institutions if available.

On management, the guidelines indicate that there should be availability of water and reticulation within the land, management of stock in the land (reduction of inbreeding, overstocking and management of old stock), ways of feeding (supplementary feeding if required), disease management program should be implemented on the land aimed at disease prevention and control (consult nearest veterinary offices for support). 

Provision of slaughter slabs (Inspection by the Department of Veterinary Services should be carried out if slaughter is to be done) and provision of internal routes (which will act as firebreaks within the land) depending on size of land are also a requirement as part of the management process. 

The would-be game farmer should indicate number of manpower to be employed, to provide security, depending on the size of land and recommended security personnel; 

After the applicant has submited the proposal to the nearest DWNP offices, the proposal will be evaluated and if satisfactory, an approval leer will be sent to the applicant and set a date for the assessment of the land. The assessment is carried out to ascertain whether developments as may be indicated in the project proposal and as per requirements. The applicant should indicate his or her intension on numbers of people to be employed for security. 

Some of the wild animals to be reared are Gemsbok, Hartebeest, Tssessebe, Roan/Sable antelope, Kudu, Eland, Springbok, Impala, Blesbok, Water Buck, Duiker, Steenbok, Bush buck Ostrich.

The guidelines further state that many Batswana have shown interest in this economic diversification approach which has not been adequately rolled out for implementation as provided for in the Game Ranching Policy. This document intends to address and close this gap.

The overarching objective of these Guidelines is to provide to an aspiring citizen of 4 Botswana an opportunity to have wildlife as part of production in their land. The specific objective of the guidelines is to among others facilitate the keeping of wild animals or game in small agricultural land holdings.

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