Wilderness Safaris Supports Batswana Farmers with Seeds

Okavango Wilderness Safaris (OWS) partnered with Seed Co Botswana to donate two tonnes of maize seed, worth over P95 000, to farmers in the villages of Seronga, Gunotsoga, Eretsha, Beetsha, Gudigwa, and Sankoyo in the Okavango Delta. The donation will help support the ploughing season in the area. OWS has been working with these communities for several years to promote crop farming and has provided tractors and other agricultural implements to assist with ploughing. OWS is also part of a multi-stakeholder partnership project that promotes field clustering and conservation farming. Through this project, OWS has made over 100 fields available for farming, and electric fencing has been put in place to keep elephants out of the area. To further increase the arable land in the clusters, OWS has made a JCB backhoe loader available to de-stump fields.

To mitigate the challenges brought about by human-wildlife conflict, OWS has pledged to drill six boreholes near the ploughing fields in the villages of Mokgacha, Gunotsoga, Eretsha, Beetsha, and Gudigwa. This will reduce the potential risk of farmers encountering wildlife, especially elephants, when fetching water from the villages. OWS Stakeholder Manager, Moalosi Lebekwe, said, “Our objective is to play a greater role in enhancing food production in the area, complementing the government’s efforts to ensure food security. Our partnership with Seed Co Botswana takes those efforts a step further, as we hand over two varieties of white maize that are popular and in demand in the area. It is a testament to our unending desire to assist farmers in the area in a sustainable manner.”

Seed Co Botswana’s Hoffman Rammala assured the farmers that the seeds donated were of high quality and would yield great results when used appropriately, supporting the opportunity for greater self-sufficiency for communities and food security nationwide. Specially Elected Councillor, Molatlhegi Bayeyi, graced all five villages’ seed handovers in the OCT area. He expressed gratitude to OWS and Seed Co for their dedication to improving farming for the Okavango Community Trust (OCT) villages, building further on the strong relationship that OCT has with OWS. “Wilderness has gone beyond just being a lessee and has taken an interest in improving the livelihoods of the communities adjacent to the concessions,” he said.

The seed handover was well received by farmers and community leaders alike, as it was seen as necessary and encouraging, given the deteriorating interest in farming amid issues of human-wildlife conflict. OWS is committed to creating shared value to support the communities where it operates. In the past, the company has also undertaken food relief drives, distributing over 200 tonnes of essential hampers to residents on numerous occasions during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Bayeyi, “It would be in the best interests of the community and the company that the partnership remains in force.”