As the ploughing season gains momentum in most parts of the country, Wilderness Botswana and non-profit Children in the Wilderness (CITW) were in the Okavango Delta in early December donating seeds to farmers in the Okavango Community Trust (OCT) villages of Seronga, Gunotsoga, Eretsha, Beetsha and Gudigwa.
This year, the safari operator, which has assisted farmers in this area with seeds, de-stumping, farming implements and borehole drilling over the years, has partnered with Seed Co Botswana, a reputable seed supplier in the region, to deliver two tonnes of the much-needed seeds, worth over BWP95,000, to communities.
As the two organisations were making the donations, a tractor from Wilderness was busy at work tilling the land of those farmers in the Ecoexist conservation farming project. The project has installed electric cluster fencing for a number of farmers, and Wilderness came on board with implements.
Simultaneously, another machine provided by Wilderness was busy on a de-stumping exercise. Speaking at the donation handovers in the respective Kgotlas, Wilderness Stakeholder Manager Moalosi Lebekwe revealed that their objective is to play a role in enhancing food production in the area, complementing Government’s efforts to ensure food security.
Lebekwe highlighted the company’s efforts to assist farmers produce food over the years; this has included seed distributions, and assistance with implements, among others. He said their partnership with Seed Co Botswana was testament to their unending desire to assist farmers in the area.
For his part, Seed Co Botswana’s Hoffman Rammala assured the farmers that the seeds donated – two varieties of white maize – were high quality products that when used appropriately yield great results. He further emphasised that Seed Co wants farming communities to produce enough food to feed themselves and the nation, while also being able to spare some for the markets.
However, he cautioned farmers against abandoning their farms after ploughing, as this will negatively affect the forecast harvest, thereby defeating the noble efforts of the seed distribution exercise. The exercise has been hailed by both farmers and community leaders as an encouragement to the deteriorating interest in farming, especially amid issues of human-wildlife conflict.
Particularly intrigued, the specially nominated councillor, who graced all five villages’ donations, Molatlhegi Bayeyi, expressed gratitude to Wilderness and Seed Co for their entrenched dedication to improve farming with the OCT villages. He further highlighted the cordial relations that exist between the community was borne out of an equally good relationship between OCT and Wilderness over the use of concessions belonging to the former by the latter on lease basis. He noted that Wilderness went beyond just being a lessee, and took interest in improving the livelihoods of the communities adjacent to the concessions.
Testament to this, he said was the food donation drive that Wilderness undertook during the Covid-19 pandemic, when the company distributed many tonnes of food hampers to the residents on numerous occasions. It would be in the best interests of the community and the company that the partnership remains in force, he submitted.
Reprinted from The Ngami Times, 2 – 9 December 2022