The Dynamics of Cattle Farming, Bovine Disease and State Intervention in North West District of Botswana, 1966-2000

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Bongani Glorious Gumbo


At independence in 1966, livestock formed the basis of Botswana’s rural economy with many Batswana dependent on it for their subsistence. Thus, on the eve of their departure, the British colonial authorities had drawn up a Transitional Development Plan which strongly recommended that the incoming independence administration embark on massive development of the cattle industry. This article analyses the historical development of the cattle industry in the animal disease prone North West District or Ngamiland. It points out how modernising institutions created by the post independence government transformed the industry and how, conversely, this development trajectory impacted on the small holder farmers, contributing to widening the enduring class disparities between cattle barons and subsistence cattle farmers in the area.

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