Aon drills farmers on business planning and insurance

11th July 2017
Participants at the small stock workshop. Source:The Midweek Sun


By Sun Reporter - Reporter

Aon Botswana in partnership with Thari Communications held a two-day small stock workshop this past weekend at the University of Botswana, under the title “Small stock risk and Insurance business planning workshop”. At the workshop, participants were taken through a variety of issues that can disrupt their businesses from operating and shown how having an agriculture related insurance can help them recover. Apart from risk and insurance, the farmers were also trained on how to write an effective business plan. Some of the topics covered included basic record keeping, heart water, nutrition, financial projections, marketing, breed selection, herd performance and farm structures.

The workshop had two leading local veterinary specialists -Dr ThabaniMongwa and Dr.Mbatshi Mazwiduma - who took the farmers through various effective farm and small stock management practices that could see their farming enterprise prosper. “Farming is a high risk business, and farmers need to do everything they can to protect their investments,” said Maano Keakabetse, an agriculture insurance specialist from Aon Botswana when explaining why they saw it fit to partner with Thari Communications on this endeavour.

He went on to explain that at Aon, they believe that all the stakeholders must play their part in order for the farming community to realise return on investment. Maano said that it was because of this belief that, they were able to co-sponsor this workshop with their underwriting partner, Botswana Insurance Company, which was represented by Nokuthaba Mtunzie at the event.

After Maano shared some of the agriculture insurance covers they have with the audience, Dr. Thabani Mongwa from Shield Vet presented on sheep and goat management strategies, as well as the importance of vaccinating and treating animals for diseases on time. He also demonstrated the importance of having good structures in order to protect livestock and reduce mortality especially on lambs and kids. Another speaker, Dr Mazwiduma, pleaded with farmers to read labels and instruction manuals that come with medicine before calling Vets to ask them what the medicine is used for or how it should be administered.

“Such simple information is there and you shouldn’t be incurring unnecessary costs just for me to pick up the leaflet and read it for you” explained Dr Mazwiduma. He went on to elaborate that for farming to be profitable, farmers must also consider the social welfare of their employees. On the second day, the participants were drilled on writing and creating an effective business plan among others, by Gladys Bogacu, an accountant who runs her own consultancy.

Saturday afternoon was dedicated to financial projections which are considered one of the main reasons why most business plans fail when scrutinised by financiers. Attendants couldn’t hide their excitement at having had the opportunity to attend the workshop. One farmer from Kgalagadi area Kgomotso Bok, said it was highly educational and implored the organisers to plan one in the Kgalagadi region as many youth from the area would have loved to attend the workshop but were limited by resources.

Another farmer, Monica Tlhong, said the workshop was very informative and worth attending especially for an aspiring fulltime small stock farmer like her. “Most of the people who are farmers or want to venture into farming don’t have business qualifications and hence don’t know how to draft business plans. “This has exposed them to unscrupulous people who copy and paste business plans and sell to the unsuspecting farmers at extortionist prices,” said Rocky Gofamodimo, the Director of Thari Communications and organiser of the event.

Thari Communications is a 100 percent, citizen owned public relations and events management company, whose main aim is to assist create the smartest, most sustainable and financially robust agricultural sector in Botswana through capacity building. Gofamodimo elaborated that the objective of the workshop was to walk the farmers through key components of the business plan, and to among other things, help them decide if small stock farming was indeed right for them. The workshop was also attended by Peter Tumedi, President of the Botswana Small Stock Federation who shared with the participants the importance of the federation and what it does. The workshop, which was targeted at small stock farmers, is expected to be expanded to other parts of the country as time goes on.

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