The Ghanzi district is the largest commercial farming region in Botswana and the Ghanzi Agricultural Show has always been labeled as an opportunity for farmers around the country to share their experiences and benchmark on the best farming practices in the region. Cheetah Conservation Botswana hosted a stall on the 2nd to 8th July 2018 to disseminate information on their services during the show and engage with members of the public. Southern Livestock Farmers Network (SOLIFANE) members continued their journey and attended the show to experience the best farming produces that were on show and connect with the region’s best farmers on livestock management issues. Mr. Geoffrey Moyo from Ghanzi Smallstock Farmers Network, who is also a recipient of a livestock guarding dog (LGD) from our LGD programme, guided SOLIFANE members around the show and later had a one-on-one session with SOLIFANE members at his farm outside Ghanzi Township for some experiential learning. Like always, SOLIFANE members were grateful for the opportunity and SOLIFANE chairperson Mr. Donald Simon had this to say, ‘’As usual, I always commend to be part of this trip as it gives me the invaluable desire to carry on with my work as a livestock farmer. I regard the Ghanzi show the biggest agricultural show in the country and it never disappoints. I learned a lot from Mr. Moyo and I thank him for hosting us at his farm. The trip was worthwhile, thank you.’’ We are also grateful that these benchmarking trips prove fruitful for the networks members whilst they learn from and motivate each other. The Ghanzi region is a very important wildlife corridor to many wildlife species including the cheetah we are grateful to the network members for working with us towards helping the cheetah win the survival race.
Farming communities play a key role for the conservation of cheetahs as the majority of these elegant hunters occurs outside protected areas. These communities are of even greater importance if they are located within the wildlife corridor between the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, as are the two villages of Bere and Kacgae. Both of these villages are part of crucial cheetah habitat and are, at the same time a human-wildlife conflict hotspot, so reason enough for CCB to put them into special focus.
During a participatory planning workshop, that was held by CCB in October/November 2017, members of both villages identified key social, developmental, and environmental challenges faced by their communities, and also drew a vision for their future that they’re hoping to achieve with CCB’s support. This year in June, a team from CCB then engaged in a second visit for a feedback meeting. They presented the outcome of the initial workshop for validation by the communities and received further important input during open and fruitful discussions in both villages. These successful meetings have laid the foundation for further cooperation and connections can now also be made with other organizations to cover issues such as a diversification of income away from a pure reliance on livestock farming.
CCB’s research team then also took part in the agenda and introduced their goals and methodologies for research on cheetah ecology and mitigation measures that will help to reduce the human-wildlife conflict in this crucial wildlife corridor. The participants followed this with great interest, especially the presentation of devices such as camera traps and GPS-collars, which will be used to monitor both wildlife and cattle in the area.
After two productive days both CCB and the two communities of Bere and Kacgae are grateful for the other’s interest and support. It is our common goal to preserve this important wildlife corridor by improving livelihoods in this rural area and we are looking forward to the continuation of this constructive relationship!
World Environment Day is aimed at increasing awareness and understanding towards the environment and the problems that surround it. The day is celebrated on June 5th every year and in 2018, it was hosted in Jwaneng under the theme ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’. Plastic pollution is a huge problem everywhere and the theme rallied behind the slogan - if you can’t reuse it, refuse it. This was a wake call for all to come together and reduce the production and use of plastics as they pose a serious threat to our marine life and human health. CCB hosted a stall and disseminated information on our services and how we are working with the rural farming communities towards the ultimate goal of coexistence. In order to coexist with nature, we need to find working sustainable ways to make earth a clean and healthy place to live. Happy World Environment Day!
On the 25th May 2018, 10 members of the Ghanzi Farmers Network (GFN) in partnership with Cheetah Conservation Botswana went on an exchange visit to their counterparts from the Southern Livestock Farmers network (SOLIFANE) members in Jwaneng. The main purpose of the visit was to give the GFN members an opportunity to meet up with SOLIAFNE members to exchange and share ideas on livestock farming experiences. While there, members from both networks had the opportunity to attend the Southern District Beef Farmers Association field day at Moleleme cattle post under the theme, “Increasing profitability for communal farmers”. The event was graced by the Minister of Agriculture Production and Food Security, Honorable Patrick Ralotsia, other stakeholders and farmers from the region. The day was filled with various activities for farmers to enjoy, among them information dissemination on farming issues, visits to cattle and goat kraals and chances to meet and engage farming giants in the Southern region. In the end, the trip was a success; all objectives of information and experience sharing were met. All members gained invaluable information on how to improve their farm performances in order to achieve desirable farming results.