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Poor yields affect CEDA repayments-Thamane

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Drought has hindered Citizen Entrepreneurship Development Agency’s (CEDA) intentions to increase its investment support to Mosi/Sedibeng Block farmers.

CEDA Chief Executive, Thabo Thamane, disclosed during the annual Mosisedi Harvest Day last week, regretting the Agency’s failure to support Mosi/Sedibeng Block farmers. “Our plan as CEDA was to increase this investment as we aid farmers in improving their farming techniques, however the plans have not materialised due to reduced output which resulted in failure by most farmers to honour their obligations with us,” said Thamane.

Over the years, government’s owned financial agency has invested over P61.4 million in the Mosi/Sedibeng Block for farm development, machinery acquisition and working capital. According to Thamane, during the current season -2018/19, the Agency invested P8.8m as compared to P9.6m in 2017/18 for working capital. Thamane said the phenomenon is not unique to the Mosi/Sedibeng Block, as farmers across the country are facing the same challenges. “CEDA has measures in place to assist farmers, which include, restructuring of loans for those farmers that could not pay their installments due to losses associated with adverse weather conditions,” said Thamane.

In addition, CEDA continues to engage and collaborate with other stakeholders, provide free business advisory services to farmers as well as encourage linkages across the industry value chain. It also encourages farmers to subscribe to the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS), which was set up by government to assist dry-land farmers with crop cover. Meanwhile, government is fast-tracking a drought management strategy and incorporating climate change interventions in agriculture in an effort to introduce drought compliant crops and livestock.

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OLOPENG HEAPS PRAISE ON BSE FINANCE CHALLENGE

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Minister Thapelo Olopeng

Botswana Stock Exchange’s annual finance and investment competition for secondary school students has been applauded by the Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Thapelo Olopeng.

The initiative, a capital market awareness tool that has been running for the past seven years, is increasing financial literacy and a culture of investment among young people. The initiative will see the country raise future billionaires through the stock markets. “It is a breath of fresh air to have tertiary students who are financially literate, who can manage their finances,” said the minister.

He urged students to invest even the smallest allowances they earn and have a hassle-free life after university. “Investing on the stock exchange is not only preserved for the rich, but for anyone with a bank account,” said Olopeng.

The minister said the secondary schools finance and investment competition is participation of the private sector in bridging the knowledge divide.Olopeng said the private sector participation augments his ministry’s efforts of providing and building knowledge and innovation through the development and implementation of the policy on tertiary education, research, science and technology to transform the economy from a resource based to a knowledge based.

“In this connection, we will continue to empower our students in order for them to lead better and successful lives which can propel them into the innovation ecosystem,” said Olopeng. BSE Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole said the Senior Secondary Schools Finance and Investment Competition, first established in 2013 aims to sensitise and educate the student community about capital markets, with the strategic aim to increase financial literacy and promote a culture of investing at a young age.

The competition is open to all senior secondary schools across the country, including private and public senior secondary schools.

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WE ARE NOT USING DIAMONDS TO KILL ELEPHANTS, THAT’S HOGWASH! – BOTSWANA MINISTER

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Orapa Mine, part of Debswana

Botswana is not using diamonds to kill elephants as alleged by some conservationists after the southern African country announced plans to lift a ban on elephant hunting to address growing conflict between humans and wildlife, a government official has said.

Minister of mineral resources, Green technology and energy security Eric Molale told a mining conference in Gaborone on Monday that the activists were tarnishing the image of Botswana. “That’s hogwash because we as Botswana are [good] conservationists and it is us who worked hard to make sure these elephants [are] brought to the numbers that we do have now,” he said.

“When conflicts arise, it is through consultation, [that we] find out how we can best manage our resources. The people have spoken and we are going to be managing the elephants in the best way that we can.

“We are not culling, we have re-introduced the trophy hunting and if you take 400 elephants per annum for trophy hunting against the 3-5% annual growth rate of the elephant herd that we have…[we are] just barely scratching on the surface.”

Botswana has about 130 000 elephants, the world’s largest population.Molale said Botswana will remain focused on things that are beneficial to the country and will not be distracted by issues spread by people that are not even privy to how things are done in the country.

“We have, however, invited them to come and learn more about what we are doing so they can better understand those important aspects of flora and fauna…”The conflict between humans and elephants had gone up since the ban was introduced in 2014.

Tourism is the second source of foreign income in Botswana after diamonds and conservationists fear that the former will be affected is the government cull elephant.
[Rough and Polished]

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