Boteti, regarded as the home to the world’s most coveted gemstones – diamonds – carries the dishonourable badge of being one of the most underdeveloped areas in Botswana. However, Canadian mining company, Lucara Diamond Corporation plans to change all that. The company, through its subsidiary Boteti mine, owns Karowe mine in Letlhakane.
Addressing members of the media recently, Lucara’s Managing Director, Naseem Lahri said they have been contemplating starting Phase 2 of the Mokubilo Integrated Farm as the demand for their products is growing.
“The project is run by the community and they are also board members and employ locals, thus empowering them,” said Lahri.
The farm, which was set up last year, produces and sells cabbage, spinach, green pepper, tomatoes and eggs.
In 2018, the diamond mining company conceived what they called Karowe Village Initiatives (KVI) to fund pilot community empowerment projects in three villages of Mmadikola, Khwee and Mokubilo. Karowe mine, which recently unearthed the largest uncut diamond in recent history, seems to be committed to turning around the lives of the Boteti communities. The MD revealed that the company plans to build a sports complex in Letlhakane.
“The budget has been approved and it will be an intergraded sports facility,” she said.
The nearest state of the art sports facilities in the area is in Orapa where people are required to get permits to enter the diamond town. In 2016, Karowe mine in partnership with Lundin Foundation and Boteti sub-district council upgraded the Letlhakane abattoir from a small scale capacity into a medium one.
Lahri, the first Motswana woman to lead a mining company, revealed that they are in talks with Boteti Sub-District Council after they learnt that the council wants to privatise the abattoir.
“We want to get it for the community and help them to run it. If it is privatised, it will be expensive for the farmers to access it,” she said, revealing that they also want to create downstream industries from the abattoir, like a fertiliser producing company and leather by-products.