Farmers Call for Transparency

| May 21, 2015

Commercial farmers have called for transparency and fairness in the implementation of the Sustainable Land Management (SLM) project.

They emphasised the need to have a representative in the project steering committee who would make their voice to be heard.

Sustainable Land Management Project is a five-year project funded by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Its objective is to mainstream SLM in rangeland areas of Ngamiland District productive landscapes for improved livelihoods. The project has been funded to the tune of P40 million.

Farmers aired their views during a consultative meeting organised by the project manager to brief them about the overview of the project and hear what farmers expect from the project implementation.

They requested that the project funding should be channeled to the proposed activities in order to produce the expected results of improving the livelihoods of the communities.

They said in the past, most projects had failed because the bulk of funding was invested into consultants while the intended beneficiaries were left behind. Farmers urged coordinators to fully engage all the concerned stakeholders in every stage of the project to promote ownership, monitoring and supervision.

They are optimistic that the project would be a success if all affected parties are involved towards the implementation and urged government departments which are key stakeholders to attend consultative meetings so that they could answer to issues raised.

They have high hopes that the project would answer most of the challenges faced by farmers both commercial and in communal areas. Some of the expectations of farmers are that it would bring sustainable interventions to the challenges encountered such as enhancing fire control as the current fire breaks were not effective it would control carrying capacity of livestock of the land increase off take and open up markets.

The chairperson of Hainaveld Farmers Association, Mr Philip Wright said the project seems to be on track as it would avail financial resources to implement management interventions citing examples of management of invasive grass and tree species. He said farmers had been failing to maintain their old, dilapidated ranches because they are financially challenged.

He also emphasised the need for public education drive on ranch management noting that farmers were allocated ranches but lacked information and knowledge on management.

Mr Wright also urged farmers to join hands and work as a team towards the implementation of the project.

He said since the project is piloted at Hainaveld farms, they should be seen spearheading its implementation and ensure proper supervision and monitoring.

For his part, the project manager, Mr Tiego Mpho explained that he had been warned by the funding organization not to make a mistake of designing a work plan which would be done by consultants as the bulk of the budget would be channeled to them.

“I was aised that the project should carry out activities in house so that the bulk of the money could be invested into proposed activities aimed towards benefiting the communities,” he added. He said currently they have already spent over P300 000 to setup their offices which are situated at the nursery next to Rileys Hotel.

Mr Mpho said one year had elapsed and they are under pressure to ensure the project is well implemented in the remaining four years.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Business & Finance

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