The impact of tourism on agriculture in the Okavango Delta, Botswana.
Harrison, Phillipa Anne.
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In recent years the use of tourism as a development strategy by third world governments has increased, resulting in the intersection of international tourism and local agricultural strategies. The aim of this thesis is to critically assess the impact of tourism development on local agriculture in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. More specifically, the study appraises the current state of tourism and agriculture in the Okavango Delta, assesses the social, economic and environmental effects of tourism development on the Okavango Delta and its communities, examines local agricultural production and consumption patterns, assesses the patterns of supply and demand of food in the region, and evaluates the impact of tourism on local subsistence agriculture, while making use of both qualitative and quantitative data sources. The Okavango Delta region is faced with several socio-economic problems. These include high unemployment levels, unequal regional development, income inequalities and extreme levels of poverty. 'Rural-urban' migration by local subsistence farmers in search of formal employment opportunities has risen steadily since the early 1990s, resulting in unprecedented social changes to the inhabitants of the Delta, and the abandonment of traditional farming practices. This, together with the limited interaction between the local population and tourism industry, is increasingly leading to tension between local and foreign parties in the region. The large proportion of foreign owned tourist facilities and foreign investment results in major economic leakages, and the exclusion of Motswana from any form of meaningful participation in the tourism industry. The presence of foreign tourists in the Delta enforces the need for imports, increasingly damaging local agricultural production as both production and consumption becomes imported. If tourism is to be of any benefit to the local population in the Okavango Delta, there has to be local involvement and ownership. The fostering of linkages between tourism and other sectors, particularly agriculture, is imperative in attempting to bring about socio-economic growth in this region.
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