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Bakgatla OFMB partner to revamp Masama Ranch

13 Jun 2024

Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela through Masama Ranch have partnered with Organic Fertilizer Manufacturers Botswana (OFMB) to produce fodder.

Speaking during a press conference on Wednesday at Mochudi main kgotla to announce the partnership, Bakgatla deputy Kgosi Bana Sekai said the 4 300-hectare Masama Ranch had been underutilised for many years. 

He said therefore it was time to come up with ways to revamp it and use it to its full  potential.

Kgosi Sekai, who is also the board chairperson of Masama Ranch said they entered into a 1 000 hectare lease agreement for 25 years with Organic Fertilizer Manufactures Botswana to produce fodder at the ranch.

He said the initiative came at the backdrop of government local empowerment programmes geared at self-sustainability and job creation. 

He said Masama ranch was a great investment for Bakgatla, and its utilisation would put them at the front of those who contributed significantly to the country’s economy.

Kgosi Sekai said he believed the company would turn around Masama Ranch through fodder production, unlike livestock breeding production which did not bear enough profit as had been envisaged. 

He said Masama Ranch was a Bakgatla community farm established in 1937 to improve livestock breeding.

He said all processes were done with the help of Kgosi Kgafela II, adding that the farm’s use would be for the community’s benefit. 

Kgosi Sekai further said the board had other development plans which would be implemented one step at a time.

Chief Executive Officer of OFMB Mr Mike Halam said Botswana had a great potential for fodder production due its short winter season and long summer. 

He said his company had been looking for land and wanted partnership to secure land.

“We wanted land, water and the right partner, and we have got it. We therefore look forward to a great partnership where many young Bakgatla will benefit and even get employment,” he said.

He said they would be planting Lucerne, a favorite feed for animals, and would be exported mostly to the UAE countries which need tonnes of cattle feed per year.

Mr Halam said the company would train young Bakgatla and there would be a value chain beneficiation.  

He added that the intention was to avail land for small farmers to be assisted and supply their produce to the main company for export.

Mr Halam said food self-sufficiency remained integral in any country’s plan,  and pledged to assist Bakgatla and the nation at large to achieve it.

Sharing the history of Masama Ranch, the ranch manager Mr Lesley Matlhaga said the ranch was given to Bakgatla in 1937 as a livestock improvement centre with the main objective being livestock breeding.

He said through the years they sold the best bulls to Batswana at affordable prices but were not making enough profit for the sustenance of the ranch. 

He said that at the time the board decided to sell the cattle through auction sale in an effort to raise more money.

He said despite the challenges they never gave up on the future of Masama and despite being affected by COVID-19, they were still pushing to be the best in the market and the parent breed were still available to take them forward. 

He said the partnership would help to revamp Masama to bring it to profitability.

Mr Peter Mokautu, working with Kgosi Kgafela II in South Africa said Masama possessed a great potential for Bakgatla but had been underutilised for long. 

He said the venture would come handy for the tribe as the farm had immense opportunities for growth and development.

He said Masama had water source which would make production of fodder smooth, enabling the company  to produce Lucerne all year round.

Professor Christopher Tsopito a Masama board member emphasised the importance of water for the farm. 

He said the abundance of water would make the investment easier. ENDs

Source : BOPA

Author : Booster Mogapi

Location : MOCHUDI

Event : Press conference

Date : 13 Jun 2024