Gaborone — Small stock can play a critical role in poverty alleviation efforts, employment creation and creation of wealth in rural areas.
Speaking during the NDB small stock exposition, which was held in Tlokweng on December 12, the Deputy Permanent Secretary-Technical in the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Ms Nancy Chengeta, highlighted that the majority of households derived their livelihoods from goats and sheep.
She revealed that according to Statistics reports 2017 and LIMID evaluation report, 2017, most small stock owners were women.
Ms Chengeta said there were a number of opportunities in the small stock sub-sector, including meat production, exporting live animals and meat as well as breeding materials such as semen.
She noted that other opportunities were fodder production, financial support for different organisations such as NDB, provision of assisted reproductive technology services (embryo transfer), feed lotting, milk and milk by-products, wool, leather as well as fibre production.
Ms Chengeta indicated that there were also opportunities in infrastructure development, citing the need for abattoirs, processing plants, canning plants as well as butcheries.
She advised Batswana that small stock cluster development initiative had started and urged them to participate in the development of a cluster value chain, when invited to.
For his part, Managing Director of LambCo South Africa, Mr Bossie Clarke highlighted that there were three types of small stock farming, namely, extensive, semi intensive and intensive farming.
He noted that intensive farming was the best with few negatives s as it was easy to monitor the animals and understand them.
The negatives, he said were costs of building, though once off and costs of feeds, adding that since it was easy to maintain quality breeds, avoiding diseases and many other positives, profits outweighed costs.
He said an embryo was sold overseas for around US$350 000 and semen for around US$20 000.
During panel discussions, different feed experts emphasised the need for supplements from an early age.
Techno Feeds Nutrition specialist, Ms Felicity Hunter indicated that without correct nutrition, the best breed could not bring the desired results.
Activities at the expo included an auction sale of 100 sheep and goats from different farmers and a farmer from Molepolole, Mr Oletile Tsalaile, who is a teacher at Moruakgomo CJSS, sold three Kalahari Red ewe goats and three kids, for P29 250.
A one-year-old Kalahari Red ewe and a 2.5-months kid sold for P7 750, while another Kalahari Red ewe aged six months sold for P7 500. Another one, with two three months old male kids, sold for P14 000.
In an interview with BOPA, Mr Tsalaile indicated that he started small stock farming in 2009, with Tswana breed and sold all of them in 2012 and bought 10 Kalahari Red ewes and one buck in South Africa.
He explained that he kept his goats free range, like many Batswana, but he kept them in kraals, when they were close to giving birth, feeding them until the kids are five months old.
Mr Tsalaile added that he kept his bucks in kraals all the time.
The event brought together various experts within the small stock sub-sector, with some from South Africa, to discuss and share ideas on improving the sector.
Source : BOPA