Botswana — Compensation for destruction caused by problem animals should be increased if the government is serious about poverty alleviation says Boteti North MP Slumber Tsogwane.
Tsogwane was contributing to the debate on the budget of the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism in Parliament on Monday.
Tsogwane told Parliament that wild animals in his constituency often destroy boreholes drilled by farmers, saying the compensation was too little to enable the farmers re-drill destroyed boreholes.
Therefore, he said, if the government was serious about alleviating poverty, it should pay compensation that could enable the people whose property has been destroyed to acquire it again.
Tsogwane also called on the ministry to address the issue of fire breaks in parks and game reserves because in good years, they were vulnerable to veld fires.
Sheila Tlou, the minister of health, encouraged the ministry to promote the processing of veld plants in Botswana.
We have to educate our people on processing and storage of veld products, she said. Tlou said the ministry should ensure that phane was harvested by experienced citizens instead of outsiders so that it did not go extinct.
Bobirwas Shaw Kgati pleaded with Minister Mokailato look into the issue of poor accommodation in farms, and called for more information on the proposed transfrontier park between Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe and how it would benefit Babirwa.
Kgati suggested that a wildlife training institute be established in Bobirwa because it is the second largest tourism area after Maun.
He also called for signboards to be mounted on the roads to direct tourists to the tourist centres.
Ronald Ridge of Maun West said the wildlife training institute in Maun could cater for the southern Africa region.
Responding to MPs requests, environment wildlife and tourism minister Kitso Mokaila urged MPs to take the lead in educating their communities to coexist with the wildlife resources in their areas.
Mokaila told the legislators that the ministry was undergoing transformation and faced with sensitive issues to tackle.
He said the fact that the Department of Wildlife and National Parks has set aside its camps to be used by citizens as tourism ventures bears testimony that the ministry was serious about empowering Batswana.
He explained that tourism was a form of lifestyle and those who choose to engage in it must do it full time rather than on a part time basis.
Mokaila pointed out that his ministry was negotiating with interested companies to set up a much bigger golf course in Botswana to boost the tourism industry.
On wildlife, Mokaila told Parliament that the department was experiencing shortage of personnel but has engaged the Botswana Defence Force to train some of its employees in areas such as flying aeroplanes to improve service in the department.