Bumper harvest expected from the heavy rains
The recent heavy downpours that covered most of the country have brought hope for an improved food security situation with Agriculture Minister Christiaan de Graaf promising good yields for farmers.
While different parts of the country received well above rainfalls during the current ploughing season, most areas received such rains well after the start of the ploughing season especially in the south of the country.
In spite of the situation De Graaf is upbeat that majority of farmers will receive good yields.
“We experience continuous heavy rainfall across the country as a result that this hampered the ploughing and planting operations.
We therefore had to extend the ploughing season even in my kgotla meetings farmers themselves asked us to extend the ploughing season which we did.
Nevertheless this season is promising to be better than the previous one.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Micus Chimbombi says the situation is a positive reflection on the country’s food security.
“The food security situation certainly looks good.
We have stocks to be able to take the country forward but we are looking forward to a cropping season that should be better.”
Chimbombi says government took a deliberate decision to plant and plough for subsistence farmers.
Initially he says government used to spend money paying people for just ploughing and not completing the entire operations.
Botswana is said to be in collaboration with Japan to conduct a research geared towards improving the country’s food basket.
De Graaf says the government together with Naro Institute of Science and Technology in Japan entered into an agreement for Japan Tobacco to commercialise the technology of mono-cods.
“Negotiations were finalised on the 21st and 22nd of August 2013 in Japan following the approval by cabinet,” he said.
As for farmers in Kgalagadi and other areas with similar agro-climatic conditions, De Graaf says government has designed a special assistance programme under ISPAAD after it was realised that the regular programme was either impractical or had minimal impact in such areas.