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Globalisation and the Livestock Industry in Botswana

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The expansion of Botswana’s livestock industry in recent years is partly a result of moves towards integration into the global economy. In the colonial period, livestock raising was the backbone of the national economy and in the post-colonial period remains the mainstay of the rural economy. Botswana’s export-driven cattle industry has led to the establishment of a well-equipped infrastructure such as marketing and veterinary services, which rank among the most developed in Africa. The industry has much support from the government; hence, the cattle population continues to grow. Even though globalisation has generally had positive impacts on the development of Botswana’s economy through beef exports, it has also generated some socioeconomic and environmental problems. Most serious are the continuing skewness of livestock holdings, increasing income disparities between the rich and poor, and accelerated overgrazing of rangelands due to overstocking of cattle by both communal and commercial farmers. The erection of veterinary cordon fences associated with the prevention of diseases and expansion of the cattle industry to meet export demands have decimated large numbers of migratory wildlife species in the country, with deleterious effects on the burgeoning tourist industry. As a result, globalisation is having both positive and negative impacts on the economy of Botswana.
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Keywords: Botswana; beef production; globalisation; pastoral marginalisation; rangeland degradation; tribal grazing lands policy

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Environmental Science, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana, 2: Harry Oppenheimer Okavango Research Centre, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana

Publication date: 2002-07-01

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