The degradation of communal rangelands and the subsequent negative impact on thelivestock productivity is a major cause of concern in Botswana (Balopi, 1996:6-7). Evidence indicatesthat the livestock industry in communal areas is experiencing a continuous decline in terms of lowcalving percentage, off-take rates, sales and a high mortality (Kwelagobe, 1996). Findings from thesurvey conducted among a random sample of 132 stock farmers on different types of ranches in thesouthern Region of Botswana revealed that the majority of respondents have no knowledge of theircalving percentage and also that no significant differences occur between the respondents on theranches that were compared, namely the individual, the syndicate the community and the communalranches. Individual and community ranches have a slightly higher off-take than the group orcommunal ranches, but the differences are small. It appears that most of the respondents do managetheir animals from a distance, in that they seldom stay on the ranches, but somewhere else. Allranches are over-stocked and it appears that the practice of stock reduction is not reconcilable withrespondents’ needs, goals and perceived means of achieving them. In spite of insignificant differencesin management and production efficiency between the different types of ranches, there is a very clearpreference gradient from the individual ranch, followed by the group or syndicate ranch, to the leastacceptable community and communal ranches. From these findings, authorities as well as livestockfarmers need to be made aware that, fencing or changing the communal ranch into a community,group or individual ranch does not necessarily contribute to improved livestock production orconservation of natural resources. For extension to be successful, more appropriate solutions willhave to be found or a better insight be gained into the motives and needs behind the keeping oflivestock, so that more appropriate messages can be formulated and ultimately a more commercialorientation or a resource sensitive attitude be promoted.

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