To diversify Tsabong economy into game farming & hunting

The P161 million state-of-the-art Tsabong multi species abattoir is taking shape and is anticipated to be completed in April 2023.

According to Hendrick Jacobs of the Kgalagadi district council, the project is 70 percent complete. He attributed delays on the project to various issues including the variations of electrical components and delay in supply of steel. Construction is progressing well on other aspects and the contractor is currently working on construction of the abattoir access road.

The anticipation is that once it is fully operational, the abattoir will contribute to a vibrant meat industry on the backdrop of the opening up of the game industry, after Government lifted the hunting ban to allow locals to contribute to game farming and slaughtering.

This development forms part of a bigger scope to open up the farming and game sector and wildlife industry in the southern area. Farmer, Thabiso Tlotse noted that the abattoir would open up the industry and make it possible for locals to participate in the local economy.

"The lifting of the hunting ban has made it easier for locals to take part in economic activities and make good money from game farming. The hope is that there will be a protection of rare species animals and that local hunters will comply with the limits set for them to hunt game," he said.

In the past few years, wildlife tourism has contributed to employment creation and economic development in Tsabong and has also increased the community’s sense of pride in their culture and preservation of local culture because of wildlife tourism.

Generally, the protected areas in the Tsabong area are underpinned by conservation, tourism, and community development goals. Niche forms of nature-based tourism, such as wildlife tourism and ecotourism, have been associated with protected areas and have been argued to draw the majority of international tourists to Southern Africa.

In a paper on citizen participation in the Kalahari district of 2021, research author Refilwe Lekgau, notes that local community participation in wildlife tourism and conservation projects of the Kalahari is generally low and positive economic benefits of wildlife tourism are not seen by the entire community.

He further states that Botswana’s development and conservation efforts to end non-commercial hunting and promote cattle farming are interpreted by San communities as policies of forced assimilation into mainstream Tswana culture and society.

"Cattle production and beef consumption are promoted as a development approach that is rendered ‘modern’ in contrast to supposedly ‘primitive’ hunting practices. Nevertheless, top-down policies that facilitate the continued abolition of subsistence hunting are justified along ecological and conservation lines without fully engaging with localised environmental and social effects of a widespread transition away from game meat and towards cattle production."