P1.6 million into Boteti integrated farming project
Project founded as social impact
Capacitating local communities to operate scalable social impact projects can stimulate economic activity and improve livelihood for many. This was said by Lundin Foundation senior manager, Babatshi Gasha o the back drop of the launch of an integrated farming project in the Boteti area, financed to the tune of P1.6 million. Ludian Foundation is the sister company to Lucara mining, which operates the Karowe diamond mine, that has to date, apart from a large flow of diamonds, unearthed two of the biggest diamonds mined in Botswana.
Speaking in an interview with BG News, Gasha explained that this integrated project formed part of the Karowe Village Initiatives high impact projects. He noted that they put forth a total of 25 hectares of land for the integrated farming project that would be rolled out in Mokubilo Village and Khwee settlement. Gasha further noted that they have done a pilot to assess the sustainability of the project. He said Lundin Foundation wanted to create high value scalable projects that were sustainable in the long- term and benefited the Boteti rural communities, ensuring that economic activity improved. He added that they had also prioritised the importance of upskilling workers to ensure they churn out quality grade produce.
“As much as this project will create job opportunities for locals, we want to ensure they are capacitated with the right skills. We have engaged several stakeholders including the Ministry of Trade & Investment, who gave some of our workers training in accounting and business management. We also had community members on running a business, agri business and safety and health among other key subjects. We want everyone to be hands on,” he said.
Gasha also pointed out that the project has brought excitement and hope to community members, who have accepted that the Boteti region one of the most impoverished despite the mining that takes place in the area. “We want to develop the communities we operate from. Imagine people living in close proximity to big mines but leading a poor quality life. We want to add on to the efforts of government and respective councils. It is important to empower community members to improve their lives and a project such as this one will do just that, ” he said.
Gasha added that projects such as this integrated farm were a social impact project that would improve the livelihoods of many over the years. “ A project of this magnitude will benefit many communities . In the long run we would like to see many integrated farms across the country. We want to see people coming here to benchmark and we want to be suppliers for the local market. Our people must lead a better quality life from the gains of these social impact projects. This is in line with the equator principles and the sustainable development goals. ” The integrated farm will be launched in Mokubilo village this Friday, and different stakeholders in agri- business and community development are expected to take part in the activities.