FRANCISTOWN – The Board Chairman of Chobe Land Board, Johane Chenjekwa has expressed gratitude towards the government for its decision to select Pandamatenga Commercial Farms as a Special Economic Zone.
Since the talk on economic free zones started in 2008, the almost decade-long preparations to roll out productive activities aimed at diversifying and sustaining the growth of the economy are nearing conclusion.
A Board for the Special Economic Zone Authority (SEZA) has been appointed and is said to have already engaged a technical advisor for the roll-out of the zones amongst them Pandamatenga which will take a leading role in Agro business.
Along with being a Special Economic Zone, Pandamatenga has also enjoyed the privilege of the implementation of Agro-Zambezi Water Transfer Scheme.
This past week, Chenjekwa told a group of journalists in the city of Francistown that the selection of Pandamatenga as a special economic zone will help accelerate economic growth and job creation to reduce abject poverty in the Chobe region.
“Consultations with Pandamatenga community were undertaken on the 13th of September 2017, with the view to identify and advertise land for application by youth. A total of 11 small scale arable fields of varying sizes and covering a total of 202.2ha were advertised in September 2017. The tender ran from 21st August to the 18th September 2017. A total of 353 applicants purchased tender documents at the recommended 50 per cent discount for youth. The sale of the tender documents generated P88, 250.00 for the land board,” he said.
At the same time, the Pandamatenga Agricultural Infrastructure Development has also since been established to create the enabling environment for farmers by constructing appropriate water control/drainage system and access road network in Pandamatenga.
“This project will contribute to food security at national level, improve the sustainability of the Strategic Grain Reserve, create employment and reduce the import bill of cereal grains. The project entails construction of a road network and drainage system for the Pandamatenga Commercial Farms and the associated ancillary infrastructure. The allocation budget for the project is P84 600 000.00, its expenditure is P55 090 080.00 and the money which has not been spent yet is P29 509 920.00,” he said.