Natural resources assessment in the Okavango Delta, Botswana: Case studies of some key resources

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This article makes an assessment of the following key natural resources in the Okavango Delta: arable land, basket-making resources, fish stocks, and river reeds. Non-data-intensive socio-economic indicators (as opposed to conventional data-intensive indicators) of trends in resource prices, trends in labour time for resource extraction, substitution of less preferred commodities, maximum sustainable yield and perceived scarcity were utilized to assess the scarcity of the resources. The study reveals that basket-weaving resources, land for flood recession arable (molapo) agriculture, and river reeds are increasingly becoming scarce in the harvesting areas, whereas fish stocks are still abundant. It is recommended that appropriate policies should be introduced for the management of natural resources. Property rights could be granted to communities to manage natural resources such as fish and veld products in line with the wildlife model for community based natural resources management (CBNRM). In addition, the authors suggest that the Government of Botswana should take the responsibility for allocating land for molapo arable farming in order to make it more accessible.

Keywords: Arable agriculture; Basket weaving; Economic value; Fisheries; Molapo farming; Okavango Delta; Scarcity

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Harry Oppenheimer Okavango Research Centre, Maun, Botswana

Publication date: February 1, 2005

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