Presidents call bolsters farmers resolve

24 Oct 2023

President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi’s call for Batswana to partner with government to revolutionise cattle farming has bolstered the resolve of some farmers and affirmed their belief that livestock keeping is indeed the future.

In Malokaganyane in the Barolong region, 78-year-old Mr Goitsemodimo Sedietso’s future in cattle rearing is promising, thanks to the services that he receives from the government-run artificial insemination (AI) camp in Goodhope.

The results of the five years that Mr Sedietso has been a regular at the camp have started showing, giving the septuagenarian hope that someday, his herd will be different, comprising of better quality breeds with world-class genetics.

“These government initiatives can take us farmers far if we use them well. I have been using artificial insemination for five years now and I am seeing the positive impact that it is having in my cattle,” he said.

He reckons that if the average farmer, who lacks the capability to improve their farming prospects on their own, were to diligently use programmes availed by government either freely or at a nominal cost, Batswana who farm for subsistence purposes like himself would grow, with some advancing to near-commercial levels.

While advanced in age, Mr Sedietso is curious to understand how technology could benefit him in his farming endeavours and wants government to ensure that the elderly are not swept aside as the rest of the population moves ahead with the digitalisation drive.

Ke ipaakanyeditse tiriso ya maranyane, mme fela ke tlhoka thuto ya gore nka a dirisa jang go inolofaletsa tiro mo thuong yame,” the old man remarks.

In Gamajaalela, another Barolong village, lives a legend in artificial insemination.

With a little over 20 years of religiously using artificial insemination on his cattle, 67-year-old Mr Motlhatlhobi Rankwe has effected total transformation of his herd from multiple breeds to Brahman only.

His deeply entrenched love for the Brahman has seen Mr Rankwe resist advice to introduce other breeds to his herd.

He loves the breed because of its fast growth rate and its hardiness.

Kwa kampeng ya kgwediso ka seatla, ba kile ba re ka ke setse ke tlhabolotse dikgomo tsame, jaanong ke tsenye matsopa a mangwe mme ka pala. Brahman e bogadi bo gaufi ebile e kgona go emelana le dikgwetlho,” he says, summing up why he loves the breed.

Though Mr Rankwe has seen the benefits of artificial insemination over the course of two decades, certain developments that the Ministry of Agriculture effected in the past couple of years have halted his use of the service.

“All these years, cattle would be received at the camp in September but they then changed and started receiving cattle in November. This presented a challenge to us farmers as by November, our cows would already be pregnant,” he says.

While the reason advanced that shifting the time of receiving cattle would result in them calving after winter when pastured were recovering made sense to a degree, the implications of the decision outweighed the benefits wished for.

Because of the September to November shift, Mr Rankwe has not taken any of his cows for artificial insemination in the past three years and is unhappy that circumstances have disrupted his annual exercise of sending cattle for insemination.

Goodhope-based acting district animal production officer, Mr Thupayagae Tsamai is aware that some farmers are unhappy with the change.

Prior to the move, Mr Tsamai said cattle would leave the camps in winter when pastures are bare and conditions therefore unbearable.

He explained however that the ministry has not turned a deaf ear to farmers’ displeasure but has in response shifted the time by a month to receive cattle in October instead.

Meanwhile, in a recent tour of the Ramatlabama Artificial Insemination and Training Centre, where he also held a cabinet meeting, President Masisi encouraged Batswana to fully utilise services offered at AI camps across the country.

He said the value chains that can be developed out of the livestock sector can counter the growing unemployment rate, as agriculture as a whole, had immense job creation potential. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Keonee Majoto

Location : MALOKAGANYANE

Event : Interview

Date : 24 Oct 2023