Kweneng Agricultural Show (KAS) organisers have positioned themselves and are ready to host a profitable show in Molepolole this year.
The current committee has realised that the tribe’s failure is uneconomic and is denying the region to showcase its farming products as well as attracting both young and old farmers to go into productive and profitable farming. Their vision is to make the revamped show very attractive and worthwhile as Molepolole is not only the economic hub of the Kweneng region, but the gateway to the desert.
Previous KAS hosted in Molepolole used to be an attractive one stop service business and entertainment centre as patrons were treated to many activities not only limited to agricultural produce, but equally watched events such as horse racing and a football match at the same ground.
However, that seem to have gone with the tribe’s decision in the early 1990s to pave way for national development to give the showground to government to build the present Sports Complex. This decision was embraced by all, but somehow the tribe relaxed and this led to the last show being held in 1995.
However, a few tribesmen put their act together and revived the agricultural show in 2013 to present, but it was not attractive to both farmers and other stakeholders.
This happened despite that Kweneng District itself has the highest population of livestock named the I11 area that feeds Botswana Meat Commission with the highest number of animals slaughtered for the EU market.
However, the situation appeared to be improving when a new show ground situated in Garanta ward behind the Magistrate Courts and the Sub-Land Board was opened in 1999 after the tribe built the brick wall surrounding the ground through the Ipelegeng Projects. But still that did not improve the quality of the products exhibited.
Realising that their agricultural show is no longer appealing, Bakwena approached the Sechele 1 Trust (S1T) Trustees and requested for help on how best to improve the current situation and other developments in the Kweneng Region. In response, S1T Board led by Chairman Charles Keikotlhae unanimously agreed to second banker and member of the Trust, Samuel Sebele to work with the current Agriculture show committee.
Speaking to BG News, Sebele said after his secondment to work with the current KAS Committee under the Chairmanship of Samuel Mapitse, “We started by mapping the way forward, key amongst our decisions was that we should benchmark. Our first trip was visiting the Serowe Agriculture Show Committee. We chose Serowe because they have been doing well and their exhibits are appealing.”
The delegation was made up of Mapitse, Masego Phuduhudu, Modiri Manthe and Sebele. “We met with the well experienced commercial farmer, Keletso Rakhudu who graciously shared with us on how best we could go about it in order to improve our show”.
Rakhudu took them through a 30-minutes lesson on what to do and not do when organising the Show. “He taught us that when organising a show, we must know that it is a market place for many things, the choosing of guest Speaker and judges matter most.” Further the exhibits must be of high quality, the show must be turned into an economic event and ensure it is apolitical as it is an event for all.
“We have a strong sub-committee and must know and or establish our target market for the show. Having fully understood what is needed, our first start was making a logo which helps in marketing the show because Kweneng Agriculture Show has been inactive for a long time. The colours and features of the logo are Brown representing the earth or the ground which we plough in, Green for food we plough for both livestock and human, Lime which is the bright side of the future, with the half wheel in dark green representing Innovation industry and the journey we are taking.”
They have invited Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi to be the guest speaker on the 29th July 2017 but are still waiting for a response from his office. “We expect to host more than 1,000 farmers from the Kweneng region, agricultural experts and suppliers from the rest of the country as well as neighbouring countries”, said Sebele. The theme for the agriculture show which is expected to bring about change is “Practises Smart Agriculture to Combat the Effects of Climate Change”. Sebele said they are doing all in their power to ensure that the show attracts international agricultural professionals, academics and members from peripheral and complementing disciplines in the area and regionally.
Sebele expects a great turnout from the regional farmers due to the anticipated bumper harvest and good rains which have greatly improved the veldt. “We expect crops like Maize, Sorghum, Beans, marotse, and vegetables; we also expect livestock and small stock. However, the Committee is facing serious financial challenges and we are hopeful that after this year’s show we will get a sponsor. We are also appealing to relevant stakeholders to come forth and go into partnership with us.”