Strategies for agricultural development and their relationship to human settlement patterns An aspect of rural development in Maun district, Botswana
This study was prompted by the low agricultural production in Botswana end the Maun District in particular. Progress has been particularly slow in the crop production sector due to ecological factors and the policy approach which has overemphasised livestock development. The existing human settlaments and land use pattern in Botswana is not conducive to agricultural and rural development. Rural settlaments take the form of villages and scattered homesteads, designated as cattleposts or lands (fields). There exists a unique rural settlement pattern whereby some families have three separate homes, one in the cesntral villages and two other homes in the lands (cultivated areas) and in the cattle posts (grazing areas). The fanning households move for several kilometres (in some cases over a hundred kilometres) betu'een the villages and areas of agricultural production. Thus time and other resources are wasted in travelling, resulting in low productivity. In general three zones of land use around the villages can be recognised in Botswana’s rural areas, viz the cultivated zone nearest the village, the mixed fanning zone end cattle posts zone. Problems identified in this study for Botswana also exist in the Maun District. These include a weak development infrastructure, scarcity of water, too much time spent in travelling between the villages and areas of agricultural production, poor marketing facilities, prevalence of traditional methods of agricultural production and inadequate extension services. A resolution of these problems would lead to rapid rural development. This study recommends improvement of the existing infrastructure and creation of more services and infrastructure. The introduction of better infrastructure and services is seen as the best way of promoting rural development in Maun District and elsewhere in Botswana. Growth and market centres should be created and infrastructure and services concentrated here. Reorganisation of the land use in the long run is also seen as necessary by this study. Crop and livestock programmes are recommended in order to increase production in the district. To absorb agricultural produce, creation of an efficient marketing system is considered necessary. An Okavango Delta Authority should be set'.up to plan and co-ordinate all economic activities in the region. Future research on underground water and soil deficiences would be necessary for agricultural and rural development planning.