Monday, February 6, 2023

Lobatse Mayor fumes as dairy project stalls

The Mayor of Lobatse, Caroline Lesang recently told the council’s full meeting that she was disappointed that the Department of Environmental Affairs at the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism had rejected their private, public partnership project with Milk Afric on the basis of environmental impact assessment issues. She said most of the issues raised when the project was rejected had been addressed and resolved by both parties.

Lesang said they had hoped that the project would be up and running by now, creating employment for the people of Lobatse and attracting spin off businesses that would fuel the rebirth of the dying town and restore it to its former glory. At the moment, Lobatse is widely considered a ghost town because of its limited economic activity and employment opportunities.

“I am disappointed that they rejected our proposal despite several meetings that we held with them. They even ignored interventions from the Vice President,” she said.

She added that the DEA went further to somersault on all agreements they had previously reached with the council. However, Lesang assured councilors that they would continue consultations with Milk Afric to chart a way forward. In the project, Lobatse town council would contribute land while Milk Afric was to import 1000 dairy cattle from the United States and set up a dairy project that would produce enough milk to satisfy national demand and eventually be exported.

The project would create more than 250 jobs for residents of Lobatse. Besides fresh milk, Milk Afric had also proposed that it would produce milk by products such as yoghurt. Botswana currently imports most of its milk and milk by products from South Africa. Milk Afric had also proposed that it would set up big fields to grow fodder crops for its dairy cows. Lack or scarcity of dairy cow feed is blamed for poor dairy farming in the country.


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