Gaborone — Botswana’s commodity-based trade and livestock traceability project has received P6.7 million funding from the European Union (EU).
The project will be implemented by Conservation International over a period of three years.
Speaking at the launch of the EU support yesterday, Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security Mr Karabo Gare said the project came at a crucial time when the country was experiencing the effects of Foot and Mouth disease in Ngamiland and Chobe areas.
He said the noble gesture would assist the nation in improving the livelihoods of the people in the two areas.
“We, therefore, hope that in addition to enabling market access and improving the livelihoods, this project will also help alleviate the human-wildlife conflict in Ngamiland and Chobe districts which were also our major tourist destination,” he said.
Mr Gare said the project would also ensure sustainable co-existence with wildlife and livestock.
Through the project, he said it was expected that farmers would benefit from improved market access, increased revenues and enhanced use of natural resources.
For the leather value chain, the programme would support farmers’ organisations in improving animal husbandry practices leading to quality hides and skins to suit the emerging leather industry, he said.
He said the support would facilitate implementation of the project because it focused on the safety of beef production processes instead of the traditional geographic-based approach to FMD-risk management.
That, he said, would allow Botswana to achieve product biosafety through the resource to specific risk mitigation measures in beef production.
He reiterated that the project stood to drive the nation’s aspirations as enshrined in the development agenda by fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We remain committed to ensuring good governance of the EPA, not only as a development instrument in its conception but also in its effective implementation,” he said.
For his part, EU ambassador Mr Jan Sadek said the project was part of Team Europe’s support to Botswana’s COVID-19 response.
“… Commodity Based Trade and livestock traceability in Botswana will go a long way in mitigating the disastrous effects of the pandemic on vulnerable rural communities and cattle farmers living in the north of the country as well as in reducing the risks posed to wildlife conservation in the region,” he said.
Mr Sadek said the project would facilitate greater viability of the regional beef value-chain, wildlife-livestock coexistence, biodiversity conservation and rural development without compromising important biosafety measures needed for FMD control.
It was expected that new market opportunities would be created for the red zones beef in Ngamiland thus contributing to higher prices and revenues, reducing poverty and indirectly mitigating human-wildlife conflicts, he said.
Mr Sadek said the project would indirectly support implementation of government’s Economic Recovery and Transformation Plan which sought to increase food production, especially for products in which Botswana had a competitive advantage, such as beef.
Source : BOPA