Atleast two of the livestock associations in Boteti are currently fully functional; the Small Stock Association (Tikologo Small Stock Association) and the Beef Famers Association (Boteti Beef Famers Association); all part of the success story of a multimillion, Sustainable Land Management (SLM) project that ended last December.
“Birdlife Botswana really helped us a lot although because we are just resuscitating we feel a bit deserted. But their support was sterling and I wish they could get another funding so give us more support. Their efforts are seen and experienced by both farmers and the nation at large,” said Connie Mafura in an interview. She is the Secretary of Tikologo Association.
Birdlife Botswana implemented the project together with the Department of Forestry and Range Resources (DFRR) and the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and funded by Global Environment Facility-United Nations Development Program (GEF-UNDP).
He revealed that presently the Small Stock Farmers Association is active with 80 members, having a five year strategic plan (2015 ÔÇô 2019). In addition to scheduled meetings the association is able to hold monthly meetings, organise and facilitate their activities, increasingly with less direct input from the SLM project.
Meanwhile Karowe Mine is said to have shown keen interest to further take over support to the Boteti Beef Farmers Association from January 2018 for at least two years.
“Of the 104 farmers 30 per cent are female while 70 are male. A survey was done in August 2017 to ascertain the extent to which working through associations has influenced improved herd management. 77 farmers-43 females and 34 males participated. Both members and non-members were asked the same questions including for general herd management, kraal management and livestock herding. When it comes to vaccination practices, 68 per cent of members of the Association indicated a clear timely vaccination activity as opposed to 33 per cent for those who are not members,” he said
Although all farmers who participated indicated their use of communal area for grazing livestock, he said 76 per cent of members undertake supplementary feeding especially during the dry season, against 45 per cent of non-members. The SLM project conducted several support trainings towards general herd management including disease management in conjunction with the Department of Animal Production and the improvement may be attributed to the effects of capacity enhancement. Disease Management and Response Calendars are also produced to influence improved herd management.