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Continuing discontinuities: Local and state perspectives on cattle production and water management in Botswana

Emmanuel Manzungu
Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe; manzungu@mweb.co.zw
Tiego J. Mpho
UNDP-Government of Botswana Environment Support Programme, Gaborone, Botswana; nauvoo76@yahoo.co.uk
Africa Mpale-Mudanga
Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Gaborone, Botswana; mmpale-mudanga@gov.bw

ABSTRACT: From 1885 when the modern state of Botswana was founded until the discovery of significant mineral deposits in 1967, one year after independence, the livestock industry, particularly cattle production, played a significant role in the country'€™s economy. Today there are concerns about how the livestock industry, because of its importance to many rural households, and its potential to diversify the mineral-dominated economy, can be revived. In recognition of the country's semi-arid climate, the government has promoted a policy of developing water sources for livestock watering. The state has acknowledged the policy has largely been ineffective, but continues to implement it. This paper attempts to explain this paradox by examining state and local perspectives in the management of water and related resources in the Botswana part of the Limpopo river basin. The discontinuities between the local inhabitants and state practitioners are analyzed within the wider physical social, political, and economic landscape. We ascribe the continued implementation of an ineffective policy to modernisation claims.