Agrotourism as peripheral and ultraperipheral community livelihoods diversification strategy: Insights from the Okavango Delta, Botswana
Oluwatoyin Dare, Kolawole
Hambira, Wame Lucretia
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The potential of agrotourism for livelihoods diversification in remote (peripheral) and extremely remote (ultraperipheral) traditional, agrarian communities is indeed a testament of its uniqueness to enhance rural entrepreneurship development, employment creation and poverty alleviation. In an arid environment such as Botswana's where traditional agricultural concerns are generally impeded by inclement weather conditions exacerbated by climate variability and change scenarios, identifying opportunities in challenges associated with livelihood activities might provide a better pathway for improving rural socio-economic wellbeing and development. Semi-structured interviews and a literature review were used to document the current status and evolution of agrotourism in rural Botswana; and identify the associated constraints and opportunities, which the subsector might offer emerging entrepreneurs. Major findings reveal that agrotourism activities are relatively new and still fledgling in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. While 4.8 percent of the initiatives investigated accounts for agrotourism initiatives that are fully and currently operational in the area, another 4.8 percent constitutes the business initiatives, which are still not fully operational. Findings also revealed that most agrotourism businesses in the Okavango Delta were challenged by inadequate capital outlays constituting an impediment to running a successful business. While bureaucratic bottlenecks associated with registering agrotourism projects is a challenge for some entrepreneurs, a few others are bedeviled by lack of market for their products. The relatively fledgling status of agrotourism in the area might offer a good business opportunity for potential entrepreneurs and the government to fully exploit the socio-economic benefits of the subsector and push a more sustainable environmental conservation agenda, respectively.
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