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Government committed to citizens empowerment

Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Ms Philda Kereng says the government is committed to the empowerment and support of the participation of citizens in the tourism industry.

Addressing Chobe leadership at Mogotsi’s Farm in Lesoma on October 23, Minister Kereng said as a demonstration of the commitment, the government had decided to exit its partnership with Seboba Community Conservation Trust (SCCT) by March 2021.

She said in the process of the exit the government would through Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) facilitate the commercialisation of the Seboba Nature and Recreational Park and partnership with private entities.

Ms Kereng said government had committed an amount of P2million towards the refurbishment of the park structures such as the performance arena that was in a state of disrepair due to lack of necessary repairs and maintenance over the years.

She said as part of the endeavour to promote community participation in the sector her Ministry had allocated the Old Ngoma Wildlife Camp for utilisation by the Pandamatenga, Lesoma, Kazungula (PALEKA) Trust and the renovation of the camp site would be carried out through the KAZA COVID-19 relief fund.

She explained that PALEKA was allocated the Old Ngoma Camp, which was a prime property inside the Chobe National Park, as it had potential to contribute positively to the financial status of the trust because part of the Trust’s hunting area in the CH8 area was allocated to the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security.

Ms Kereng appealed to the district leadership to support the trust in terms of the full development and utilization of the Old Ngoma Camp property and to review all its Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) reports to ensure that misappropriation of funds is avoided.

The Minister urged the district leadership to work with the trusts in their districts during the development of the Village Development Plans as the plans would guide trusts’ investment of financial resources made from hunting quotas and lodges in terms of community’s infrastructure servicing and development.

 On human wildlife conflict, Minister Kereng noted that Chobe was one of the areas experiencing  high numbers of human wildlife conflict and the DWNP was continuously working hard to attend the conflicts and protect human lives. 

She noted that the compensation guidelines were being revised and the process would  include the revision of the rates to be paid to the farmers, as well as an increase in the animal species for which compensation would be paid.

Ms Kereng said her ministry was developing guidelines for keeping of game in ploughing fields and with the shortage of land in Chobe she was aware that the district might not benefit from the programme.

She said the district had on many occasions pleaded for the de-gazettement of the forest reserves to augment tribal land in the district, a thing that she said was not the most sustainable way to deal with land shortage. 

She said the district leadership should come up with innovative ways of how her ministry could support the district in diversifying to other means of food production, growing tourism and conserve the prime forest reserves. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Keamogetse Letsholo

Location : Lesoma

Event : Meeting

Date : Oct 25 Sun,2020


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