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We need a comprehensive land audit

SHARE   |   Wednesday, 17 October 2018   |   By Thomas Dust Nyoni
We need a comprehensive land audit

Ace on Natural Resources

 Land is a finite resource. It sustains our country through food production; it determines our sovereignty as a nation; it is the foundation of our diverse culture, and is at the heart of our Being! Should Batlokwa should be crying for unavailability of land when there is RURETSE there idling without any formal benefit to the Batswana. Do we know that one farmer in Gantsi owns land the size of Lesotho, yet there is no clear evidence that most of the acquired land is being productively utilised so far! Just nearby Basarwa ba modimo ga bana lehatshe. Rre Masisi you are our last hope! Please shift the gear on land issues to benefit Batswana not a few individuals. Please a serious probe into the land issues in Botswana is needed!

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Kgabo baakanya le kwano. The land question segregates between native Batswana and naturalised citizens from elsewhere. Mr President; the extent to which the current high levels of income inequality in mineral rich Southern Africa is associated with the high levels of unequal land holding patterns in Botswana. The past regime failed to address the land issues, but adopted the soup approach like the affirmative action. If he was really serious about the land issue, why not apportion a bit of the land he owns and give Batlokwa for residential purposes. Indeed social displacements, increased concentration from land and land degradation, among those living on marginal landholdings and which now characterise the formersettler-colonial and non-settler Batswana, also deepen the scope for functional income inequality to rise , as more dispossessed people seek low wage work on farms and mines!

Can anyone justify the ownership of the land by the Roman Catholic in Botswana? Who is it benefitting! Mr President fa re hetsa go baakanya the wildlife debacle, the next issue is land. Most of our land is lying idle and not delivering any economic benefit. Batswana need land for agricultural production, but it also is an essential condition for improved environmental management, including source/sink functions for greenhouse gasses, recycling of nutrients, amelioration and filtering of pollutants, and transmission and purification of water as part of the hydrologic cycle . What is scary is that we do not have direct evidence of who owns how much land because the land authorities do not publish or allow the public to see the data on individual ownership of land. Hence we have the landless people especially in rural corridors.

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For the landless, whose number is rising, a major source of survival is wage labour. The problem is that the income from wage labour, especially in the rural areas, depends on the demand for labour in farming and the wage rate. It seems obvious that public policy has done little if anything for the landless (rural) poor. The mix of indirect taxes and price subsidies in the agriculture sector have been a major source of its lacklustre performance reflected by the low annual growth rate and stagnant if not falling productivity.

Agriculture is the economic foundation of many developing countries, employing up to two-thirds of the workforce and contributing between 10 and 30 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). For the poorest people, GDP growth originating in agriculture is about three times more effective in raising incomes than GDP growth originating from other sectors (World Bank, 2010). Yet agricultural growth rates have declined significantly over the last decade and food insecurity remains pervasive.We need our land in Tati, near Tlokweng. Batswana should be allowed to do modernised agriculture! The conservation of natural lands and of working farms and forests can generate financial returns, both to governments and individuals, and create significant cost savings as well. Thats the foundation of job creation that I know you have passion for My President. When productive farms and forests are haphazardly consumed by development, the agricultural and forest product industries that depend on these lands are hurt. The workers in these industries are hurt and the people who provide goods and services to these workers are hurt. If enough farmland in an area is converted to non-farm use, the farming communities lose the critical mass necessary to keep local farm-related businesses and hence the whole farm economy alive. It is interesting that Consumers value the ability to purchase local agricultural products.

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Evidence shows that the sale of local farm goods is important to local economies and some type of public intervention is needed to ensure they are supplied. We need a vibrant and viable local agricultural economy. Mr President some evidence has been found that farmland preservation programs can benefit the local economy and/or have no negative impacts relative to other economic development opportunities. However what we need kgabo is a more ecologically balanced land management that can achieve both economic and environmental benefits, and this must be the foundation (linch pin) for further rural interventions (investments). Without good land management, other investments in the rural sector are likely to be disappointing.

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At the same time, arguing for the continued maintenance of agriculture without reference to environmental sustainability is increasingly difficult. Indicators of land quality are needed to guide us along the way. I just love the thought that Eric you want land to benefit Batswana. Agricultural intensification is needed to achieve more sustainable systems. This requires shifts to higher value production, or higher yields with more inputs per unit of production and higher standards of management (more knowledge intensive). However, sustainable agriculture has to work within the bounds of nature not against them. Many yield improvements can be achieved by optimizing efficiency of external inputs rather than trying to maximize yields. Let the Agriculture department be more focused. We need to correct. The starting point Mr President is a comprehensive land audit to determine who owns what and where and if it has benefits. The land audit am talking about is a gathering of all information relating to: 1. Who is the owner 2. Who is the occupant/user 3. The rights to the land 4. Current usage of the land 5. What buildings and improvements exist on it. Mr President once we are done with the land complexity in Botswana, the overall view of land ownership in Botswana can now be used constructively in redistribution matters, tenure reform, administration and in a variety of developmental decisions to enhance the effectiveness of the land reform programme.



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