Botswana youth quits teaching for goat farming.
In the Kweneng district of Botswana, lies Wadisigo Farm owned by Thebeyame Thebe Molefe; the former president for Botswana Young Farmers Association (BYFA). Wadisigo Farm is host to several breeds of livestock; the Boer goat, the Kalahari Red, the Doeper sheep and local breeds of chicken.
During the 3rd Botswana Youth Business Expo in Gaborone, Mr Molefe exhibits only the Kalahari reds breed of goat. Mr Molefe said the reason why he ventured into livestock farming especially goats was his love for animals which he developed when he was growing up looking after his single mother’s local goat breeds proudly referred to as “Tswana goats” by Batswana. He grew up to become a teacher for 5 years and later quit teaching to become a full-time farmer. “I was pulled into goat farming upon realizing the growing demand for goat meat in Botswana”, says Molefe.
Molefe took over his mother’s farm and transformed it into a profit making venture through keeping mainly the Kalahari Reds goats. The Kalahari Red is now common across the globe, from Brazil, South Africa, to Australia and Thailand. The breed is favored by farmers due to its qualities. It is a hard breed with an excellent walking ability and good mothering attributes which make it ideal for harsh conditions such as the climate of Botswana.
Mr Molefe stated that he loves the Kalahari Red for its good mothering skills and its attractive color which is a good camouflage in shades and darkness. “Even if it happens that they spend the night outside they are not prone to predators.” say Molefe.
The Kalahari Red takes very good care of its offsprings. “As a farmer what you sell most is the offsprings, so an animal which can take good care of its offsprings is good for business.” adds Molefe.
The Kalahari Red was developed from the Boer goat which makes it have a good frame and good meat quantity and quality.
There is growing demand for the Kalahari Red but its breeders are few in Botswana. Mr Molefe saw an opportunity for him to create a viable business and employ other youth. Currently he employs seven workers.
Major challenges which Mr Molefe faces include lack of water as they have not yet raised enough funds to drill a borehole and that many of the people he hires are new to farming hence the need to invest in building their capacity.
Mr Molefe encourages other farmers to treat their livestock as a business which when taken good care of would in turn take good care of the farmer. He also urged the youth in Botswana to stop relying on government created jobs but rather work to create jobs using the opportunities which the government creates.
This article was written by Mooketsi Motiki. Motiki is a Communications Intern with The Center for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.