The only source of income for the north-eastern district is the revenue collected from ratepayers which amount to very little in a poor area.
It is against this backdrop that the City Kealotswe-chaired district council is devising means of generating funds.
This is a move aimed at reducing over reliance on government grants dispatched on an annual basis to local authorities through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
The grants have not been adequate enough to cover the developmental projects that the district council wants to undertake each year.
Since 2008 the government has reduced council grants arguing that the world credit crunch has hit the country hard.
The development resulted in councils not implementing some of the most important projects that were meant to create employment for people locally, especially the region’s youth.
Currently the unemployment rate stands at 19.3percent nationally.
Taking a cue from a recently released agro-ecological suitability report, NEDC is contemplating venturing into the production of vegetables, milk, pork, meat and eggs from poultry and fodder for animal feed.
NEDC chairperson, City Kealotswe, revealed at the end of the full council session last Friday, “We should treat these findings (by the agro-ecological assessors) as a big opportunity for the district in terms of local economic development,” said Kealotswe amidst a thunderous round of applause from other councillors.
He said NEDC and small-scale farmers in the north-eastern district should venture into horticulture and feed the nation.
“This development will see more people being employed to cut on the rising statistics of unemployment in the area, and reduce our dependency on government grants,” said the council chairperson.
“Horticulture is a key sub-sector within agriculture that needs to contribute meaningfully to the country’s export earnings and GDP (gross domestic product).
NED has been requested to produce vegetables and other commodities in this sub-sector,” said Kealotswe.
A fortnight ago while addressing a Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) congress in Maun, Local Government and Rural Development Minister, Peter Siele, urged councils to think outside the box and generate income for themselves.
He also lambasted some councillors for dragging their feet when it comes to revenue collection from rate payers for fear of being voted out.