GABORONE, FEB 10 — Escalating incidents of straying and subsequent theft have reduced the cattle population by at least 300,000 in Botswana, the southern African country’s statistical agency said Saturday.
In its annual agricultural survey report for 2017, Statistics Botswana stated that livestock production especially cattle continued to decline between 2015 and 2017 due to straying and theft.
“Cattle population dropped from 1.4 million in 2015 to 1.1 million in 2017,” said Botswana’s Statistician General, Burton Mguni, in an interview with Xinhua soon after the report’s release in Francistown, Botswana’s second largest city.
Mguni said the decline in cattle population is attributed to an increase in cattle lost due to straying as well as stock theft.
Cattle losses increased significantly from 48,571 in 2015 to 79,799 in 2017, he said.
“This implies that most cattle are lost due to straying or theft,” said Mguni.
Furthermore, Mguni said cattle birth rate also decreased from 57.9 percent to 47.3 percent.
However, Mguni said mortality rate declined from 7.1 percent to 5.9 percent and off-take rate also declined from 6.6 percent to 5.5 percent.
Agriculture plays an important role in Botswana’s rural development by providing food, income and employment for the majority of the country’s rural dwellers.
In Botswana, agriculture has potential for growth and creation of employment opportunities particularly for the unskilled and semi-skilled people.
However, the sector is not performing optimally due to recurring droughts, losses due to straying, stock theft and endemic animal diseases such as the highly virulent Foot and Mouth Disease. – XINHUA