Chobe reports positive outlook
HIGH PRODUCTION: Pandamatenga farms

More land to be allocated for Youth Projects

Chobe Land Board (CLB) has reported an optimistic and positive outlook for the year 2018 and beyond in a recent media address at Thapama Hotel.

While sharing their 2017 journey with journalists, CLB Chairman, Johane Chenjekwa stressed that despite niggling challenges, the execution of their mandate of land, water and waste-water management in tribal lands within the Chobe District is going well.

Chenjekwa told the media that they have achieved much in the years 2016/17, key among them being their contribution to sustainable economic development.

He further revealed that they have availed land for allocation to youth projects in the district.

“We consulted the Pandamatenga Community on the 13th September 2017 to identify and advertise land for application by youth.

So far 11 small-scale arable fields of varying sizes covering 202.2ha were advertised from 21st August to the 18th September 2017,” declared Chenjekwa.

The CLB Chairman further said 353 applicants purchased tender documents, generating P88, 250 for the Land Board.

He said only 207 (58.6%) submitted their bids for adjudication whose evaluations were completed on the 13th of October.

“What is left are oral interviews to be done during our November sitting for final allocation,” he continued.

Chenjekwa also highlighted government’s initiative of establishing special economic zones in the country.

The government made a commitment to establish these zones as a way of accelerating economic growth and job creation to reduce abject poverty in Botswana.

“Five Special Economic Zones have been established to achieve this and they are in Gaborone (two), Pandamatenga Commercial Farms, Palapye and Lobatse,” he explained.

Other projects of note include the Pandamatenga Agricultural Infrastructure Development (PAID) whose objective is to create an enabling environment for farmers by constructing appropriate water drainage system and better road networks.

The project was allocated P84 600 000 of which only P55 090 000 has been spent.

“This project will contribute to food security at national level, improve the sustainability of the Strategic Grain Reserve, create employment and reduce the import bill of cereal grains,” he said of the PAID project.

The initiative is part of the Implementation of Agro-Zambezi Water Transfer Scheme.

Its objective is to expand existing commercial farms in Pandamatenga by an additional 45,000ha through the supply of water from Chobe River (41,000ha), which was leased to the KALEPA (Kazungula, Lesoma and Pandamatenga communities) Trust.

“So far Phase 1 is complete. We have managed to construct a total of 180km of roads and 90km of drains and defects notification period ended in November 2016,” he said, adding that Phase 2, which was awarded to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), was also finished.

“Phase 3, which was awarded P180 108 508.16 to run for two years, commenced on 22nd August, 2016. Progress as at the end of September 2017 was 38% (8.5% of roads and 95% of drains),” he revealed.

Despite this positive outlook, the chairman admitted they still face some challenges, amongst them poor revenue collection.

He said from the P950, 000 that was supposed to be collected as annual lease rental only P151, 991.94 has been recuperated.

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