Pushing Agricultural Land Out of the Village: The Land Use Change in South-eastern Botswana’s Otse, 1986-2002

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Senwelo M Isaacs


This study contributes to the land use planning and policy in the tribal land areas of Botswana. It focuses on land use change in Otse, south-eastern Botswana. The traditional land tenure system, which is found in peri-urban and rural areas, accounts for a larger proportion of the land resource management in the country. The developments in these areas are not directed and planned as in state-owned land, save for the physical planning developments in village expansion layout plans which remain limited to ‘dimensional analysis’. Consequently, the land with the best agricultural soil is getting lost to construction of residential houses or ‘build-up’ areas. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to acquire, analyse and present data for this paper. The detection of land use change relied heavily on the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Questionnaires and interviews were administered and conducted on the residents of Otse and relevant stakeholders to find out the land use change over time, and how this has affected the livelihoods of the local people. Official government documents and policies were also consulted. Results from the research showed that there has been a great change in land use in Otse from the 1980s to the turn of the new millennium.

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