OPTIMISTIC: Autlwetse

Government, through the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security, says it is doing everything within its power to ensure that the agricultural sector becomes commercially viable in the country.

Assistant Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Kgotla Autlwetse announced this aspiration when deliberating on the food security situation in Botswana during the belated World Food Day at Kalakamati village in the North East district last Thursday.

Autlwetse vowed that by 2025, Botswana’s agricultural sector would be modern and productive, using science, technology, innovation and indigenous knowledge.

The pledge is part of government’s commitment towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 aimed at eradicating hunger by 2030.

This year’s commemorations were held under the theme: ‘Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development.’

Founded in 1945, World Food Day is celebrated every year by more than 150 countries around the world on October 16, in honour of the date the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations was founded.

“The hand hoe will be banished by 2025 and the sector will be modern, profitable and attractive to the country’s youths and women,” said Autlwetse, adding that the move is aimed at building a shared prosperity through the social and economic transformation of the country.

Autlwetse revealed that Botswana’s agricultural aspirations are in line with African Union (AU) Aspiration number one of a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development of the Agenda 2063.

The initiative underpins African countries’ determination to eradicate poverty in one generation and create shared prosperity.

“Based on AU’s aspiration, our country will have a sustainable, technology driven and commercially viable agricultural sector by 2025,” he predicted.

Pursuant to commercialising the agricultural sector, Autlwetse said the government has come up with a number of programmes targeting food security.

Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agricultural Development (ISPAAD) and Livestock Management and Infrastructure Development (LIMID) are some of the programmes aimed at commercialising the agricultural sector.

Agriculture is the mainstay of Botswana’s rural economy as a source of food, employment and raw materials.

Approximately 80 percent of Botswana’s agricultural sector’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) comes from livestock, with only 20 percent originating from basic grains, horticulture and other crops.

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