Batswana have embraced the announcement by President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his government that farmers will soon be allowed to keep small game in their farms.
In his televised address to the nation last week the presidents said, “The agro- tourism guidelines are also being reviewed to facilitate citizens to make a decent living out of their fields (masimo), to complement agro-tourism and diversify its products, game farming guidelines shall soon be issued to enable those Batswana who are interested to keep small wildlife or game in their fields as they meet set criteria” said Masisi.
In an interview with the Patriot on Sunday, the owner and Managing Director of My Destiny Agro-Tourism which is located in Serowe, Sylivia Matimba- Dambuza said the new development is a welcome initiative as it will complement other projects that are at her business.
“At My Destiny we have accommodation, restaurants, conference rooms, we do school education tours, we host weddings and festivals and other activities that include retreats by government employees , and often people asked about game drives, however this will address that as we intent to take advantage of it” she said.
She said that currently the only place that one can go for game viewing in Serowe and surrounding places is at Khama Rhino Sanctuary which she said is unable to accommodate all people who visit them.
She further said the addition of wildlife to the business will also bring in new jobs to the area. “Our aim is to help with the issue of unemployment, at the moment we have18 employees and with the addition of a game farm we intend to employ 18 more” added Dambuza.
Dambuza further implored Batswana to take advantage of this initiative to improve their lives and utilize their fields because nowadays they are underutilised due to unreliable rainfall. “In South Africa most the farmers have introduced wildlife to their farms, on my regular travels to South Africa, as you travel from Ellisras (Lephalale) there are wildlife and campsites on every farm you pass by” she said.
Meanwhile Dambuza said bureaucracy had often made it hard for people to access these developments.
“Government always comes with good initiatives to empower Batswana, however they always get hampered by bureaucratic procedures” decried Dambuza.
Dambuza said individuals and businesses are always faced with problems from government departments. “Lack of correlation between government departments, snail pace approval of permits and licences and officers who are regularly never in their offices usually cause poor implementation of these initiatives” she said.
“Officers who are tasked with implementing these projects often delay them with unnecessary red tapes which often lead to some people giving up along the way” she added.
She further said time has come for government departments to stop working in silos and start working together so that they can complement each other and help Batswana diligently without delay. “Earlier this year after the Minister of environment, natural resources conversation and tourism launched the revised agro tourism guidelines therefore allowing us to increase the use of our field for Agro tourism activities, I wanted to increase my accommodation rooms, however when I called the council physical planning department they admitted ignorance of this new developments” said Dambuza.