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Supplement to the Botswana Gazette Wednesday 13 - 19 November 2013

Food security in Botswana MODIRI MOGENDE


t is a quest for every nation to be secure in every sense of the word and the ability to feed one’s nation ranks up there as the greatest responsibility of any secure state. Botswana is no exception. The nation of two million has a centuries old history of food production. Batswana are historical a farming people who have practiced crop production and animal rearing since the days of the great migrations in Southern Africa. The semi arid land has for many years provided a bounty of cultivated crops and pastoral land for rearing livestock. It is however a reality that food security has been a daunting challenge for Botswana. For example, even with a relatively small population, demand for staple produce like cereal far surpasses that which is produced by farmers in Botswana. According to statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, the population’s demand for cereal stands at 200 000 metric tonnes per year however, locally, only 39% of that is produced. The rest of, 61% is imported from South Africa and Zambia, according to Diirilwe Matoto, the Ministry’s Chief Engineer. In a presentation he made on behalf of the Ministry at the World Water Week in Stockholm, Matoto showed that Botswana is further challenged in Horticultural production. According to the statistics presented, production in this field is at 45% locally, while the rest is brought in from other parts of Africa. The question that arises is why is a small nation of only 2million people with a legacy of farming unable to feed itself currently? According to Matoto, there are multi dimensional challenges that face farmers in Botswana. Water, the most critical component necessary for food production in Botswana is low and sporadic, thus making food production an immense pursuit. High temperatures that plague Botswana, coupled with the

lack of fertile soils in two thirds of the country and old ploughing techniques adopted by farmers further exacerbate the problem. Another issue that Matoto mentioned was that of climate change, cautioning that there has been a clear shift in rain seasons due to the global change of the climate, thus making it difficult to predict rainfall. In the government’s efforts to boost food production in the country, The Ministry of Agriculture has over the last decades introduced initiatives to address these challenges. A lot of those fail, but they have not been deterred in their quest to improve food production. In recent years, the Ministry introduced the Integrated S u p p o r t P r o g r a m for Arable Ag r i c u l t u r a l Development (ISPAAD). It is mandated is, “to commercialize arable sector t h r o u g h : Mechanization through technologies such as minimum and zero tillage Fertilizer application and use of hybrid seeds.” Through this programme, The Government of Botswana provides subsidies for seeds, fertilizers, ploughing, harrowing and planting to local farmers. Another initiative is the Agricultural Service Support Program (ASSP) which is , “a project designed to enhance the productivity of rain fed agriculture through use of improved agricultural technologies, lower cost farm mechanization and develop a viable model for smallholder irrigation using waste water resources,” according to the Ministry. While these two are amongst other initiatives that have been introduced to combat food insecurity, Agricultural production remains a challenge as it has fallen below 4% in Gross Domestic Product contribution according to the Bank of Botswana’s 2012 annual report. This is a far cry from the 40% contribution that the sector used make at the time of independence.


Cattle farming finds a new lease on life LAME MALEFHO


griculture in Botswana has always faced challenges from poor soil conditions, erratic rainfall and diseases and despite the economic advances the country has made, Botswana still imports almost 80 percent of her food needs from neighboring countries. Since 1966, cattle rearing has dominated agriculture in Botswana and beef production is still monopolized by the Botswana Meat Commission. In the middle of the 1990s, the national herd counted to almost 2.5 million. In recent years, the figures have gone down by 200, 000 due to the mass slaughter ordered by the government in 1995 in order to prevent the cattle lung disease and four decades later the percentage agriculture contributed to the GDP has dropped to a low 3.5 percent. Nonetheless, the sector still plays a pivotal role in the lives of Batswana. Progressive farming

techniques have seen a newer generation of farmers who have entered the time honoured industry. The youth, who make up the greatest portion of the country’s population, are now highly encouraged and incentivised to pursue cattle farming. With the assistance from institutions such as Citizen Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA) which helps with funding, and the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), whose mission is to promote, and facilitate entrepreneurship and enterprise development in Botswana more young people are finding opportunity in a profession that was once dominated by older generations. In this year’s State of the Nation Address, the President of Botswana Ian Khama Seretse Khama revealed that, “In addition to our traditional beef markets we are seeking to secure additional markets, with promising prospects in the Middle East and elsewhere. We

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Since 1966, cattle rearing has dominated agriculture in Botswana and beef production is still monopolized by the Botswana Meat Commission. In the middle of the 1990s, the national herd counted to almost 2.5 million.

have been exporting live cattle to Zimbabwe, with over 8,600 head having been exported so far from Ngamiland. In the context of the drought, farmers have also been granted a temporary dispensation to export live cattle older than 30 months. This dispensation will be reviewed at the end of the year. The European Union (EU), however, remains our most lucrative market. I am therefore glad to report that BMC exports from Lobatse to the EU have resumed. We are in the process of having the Francistown abattoir relisted for EU exports.�

One of the initiatives that the president mentioned was that of the Livestock Management and Infrastructure Development (LIMID) programme which he said was another initiative that was contributing to selfemployment among the youth. He revealed that, “As of August 2013, 9,060 applicants have benefitted from the programme, of which 2,185 are youth who have been approved, while 3,648 are being processed. The price of small stock covered by the programme has been increased resulting in improved uptake and delivery of the

programme.� As part of the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) which is meant to promote the production and consumption of local products through public procurement and further grow the economy by developing new enterprises, the president revealed that there Botswana will finally begin to push for beneficiation in the beef industry through the development of, “a P225 million leather production facility in Lobatse, where land has been allocated for a “Leather Park� and a bankable feasibility study for the project is being undertaken.�

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t is every farmers goal to archieve more with less when embarking on any project. The new unique low cost 1HWDnPLUULJDWLRQHTXLSPHQWDYDLODEOH at Farmers World is one product that will help the farmer achieve this goal. %\ XVLQJ WKH QHZ 1HWDnP LUULJDWLRQ system, the farmer can get a return on investment within 6 months, this combined with the fact that the equipment is easy on the pocket the IDUPHULVVHWWRPDNHDJRRGSURnWVDLG Hermant Patel of farmers World.The ORFDO GLVWULEXWRU RI  1HWDnP LUULJDWLRQ equipment that was introduced in May this year.

“The equipment can be used on a project for about two years and we have spare parts and back up services available to WKHIDUPHUxVDLG3DWHO With 43 years of experience behind LW 1HWDnP LV D JOREDO OHDGHU LQ WKH manufacture of irrigation system that help farmers to grow more with less.The company operates in 110 countries and has a customer base of over 5638 721 with over 3000 highly trained experts worldwide. ‘We are recieving a positive feedback from farmers around who are using this LUULJDWLRQV\VWHPxKHVDLG



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e at AgriSales are in the business of trading agricultural equipment and inputs. We stock a variety of Massey Ferguson and Tafe tractors including the implements to suit the budget of the consumer. Our specialty lies in providing animal health medication, fertilizers, animal feed, and folk lifting among other things. Visit us at our main branch in Mmamashia and upgrade your tractor and stock up on animal feeds. We have branches in Landmark Gaborone, Francistown and will soon be opening in Palapye.

Telephone: (+267) 390 5326 Fax: (+256) 390 5345 Mobile: Jezer Rampa - (+267) 72 474 627 E-mail:

Physical Address Mmamashia, Al Road Plot 274 Block A Botswana

Postal Address P.O. Box 70859, Gaborone, Botswana


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ver the years agriculture has met significant challenges that include limited resources, unskilled labor, and a lack of arable land. However as societies developed and technology changed the face of agriculture, farmers have had to make equally significant changes to farming methods in order to increase productivity and yields,. To increase farm production, and meet the unlimited demand for food in semi-arid Botswana, farmers have engaged the use of mechanized agriculture. Mechanized agriculture is the process of using agricultural machinery to automate the work of farming and cultivation. Automated machinery has since marked the evolution of agriculture, one of the oldest human practices. The first universal mechanization of agriculture came with the introduction of the plough, usually powered by animals. Current mechanized farming includes the use of tractors, trucks and harvesters. Some modern commercial farms incorporate the use of ICTs in their farming methods to increase yields. History At the heart of agricultural transformation, in a sector that contributes significantly to economic activity, lies mechanization. Advances in technology and innovation created a turning point especially when tractors began to replace draught animals in the early decades of the 20th century. An online report from the National Academy of Engineering states, “Tractors leveraged a growing oil economy to significantly accelerate agricultural productivity and output.  Early harvesting methods had required separate process operations for different implements. With tractors, the number of necessary passes in a field for specific implements was reduced, and eventually, those implements were combined through innovation into the “combination” or combine harvester.” The impact of mechanization on productivity In this day and age, automated machinery has replaced labor intensified jobs previously occupied by men or animals such as oxen and horses, as many new innovations have led to increased capability and improved farm productivity. In most cases, increased agricultural production is often brought about by improved crop varieties that can be attained through creating suitable environments that would allow plants and animals to grow to their full potential. This is also brought upon by the use of suitable ranges of machinery and equipment operated through skilled labor. Mechanization of farming thus contributes to increased yields and efficiency, as it reduces cost of production considerably. Some advantages of adopting mechanized farming include efficiency in large scale production, improvement of quality in farm produce, not only that it encourages the take of agriculture as a career path, particularly in Botswana where the government continually urge citizens to go into farming, through programs such as the Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agricultural Development (ISPAAD). ISPAAD is one of the main Agricultural Support Schemes introduced in 2008 to address challenges in the arable sub-sector; of poor

technology adoption by farmer and low productivity of the sub-sector. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), “The need to increase agricultural output of food and nonfood products while at the same time improving labour productivity on farm and in the value chains requires that agricultural manpower has access to tools, equipment and machinery to carry out farm operations efficiently from the view point of financial and capital costs as well as social and environmental costs.  Farm power is determined by a combination of the source of energy (e.g. manual, or animal traction, or motorized) and the tools and equipment utilized to carry of farm operations,” a point that was also highlighted by the National Agricultural Master Plan Arable Agricultural Development (NAMPAAD) Director Gaokgakala Rammidi. She emphasized the importance of enhanced tools in relation to productivity in agriculture, noting that mechanized agriculture has so far made remarkable strides in improving the farming system is Botswana. She remarked that, “It is what drives commercialization in the Agricultural sector today. It has been able to increase productivity in areas farmed in a small period of time. That is why local farming, where oxen and hoes were utilized is giving in to mechanize farming today.” New Trends- ICT and Agriculture As the use of agricultural mechanization grows with technological trends, it has become possible for farmers to plough many hectares of land in a day with suitable machinery. In future, the use of ICT in agriculture will provide farmers with a platform to increase production. A mind map for ICT shows it being applicable at all the three stages of the farming process, from pre-cultivation, crop cultivation and harvesting and post harvesting, in order to gather information that will help in future to forecast ahead of production in accordance with data gathered. First, an ICT is any device, tool, or application that permits the exchange or collection of data through interaction or transmission. According to the ICT in Agriculture (, an electronic e-source book by the Agriculture and Rural Development Department (ARD) of the World Bank, Information and communication have always mattered in agriculture, with challenges such as global food shortage, poverty, and escalating and unmet demand. The book writes that many of the questions asked by farmers including questions on how to increase yields, access markets, and adapt to weather conditions can now be answered faster, with greater ease, and increased accuracy. “Many of the questions can also be answered with a dialogue where farmers, experts, and government can select best solutions based on a diverse set of expertise and experience.” “ICT is one of these solutions, and has recently unleashed incredible potential to improve agriculture in developing countries specifically. The ability of ICTs to bring refreshed momentum to agriculture appears even more compelling in light of rising investments in agricultural research, the private sector’s strong interest in the development and spread of ICTs, and the upsurge of organizations committed to the agricultural development agenda.”

Quick guide to agricultural supplies RORISANG MOGOJWE


hile in the past food security was mainly equated with the idea that each household should produce its own food, the emphasis is now on commercialisation of agriculture as a main driver of increased food security. Botswana  has  enormous  agricultural  growth  potential which  can be realized  through the commercialisation of  agricultural production,  and  associated  activities as farming businesses expand to make profits. The following are some of the places where agricultural supplies can be found: Botswana Agricultural Market Board The Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board was established by in 1974 with a mandate to provide a market for locally grown crops such as cereals, pulses/beans and oilseeds, and ensure that adequate supplies exist for sale to customers at affordable prices. Agrichem Botswana Agrichem has been established and trading for over 25 years. It sells products such as seeds, agricultural chemicals,

fertilisers, veterinary products and irrigation equipment. All agrochemicals sold by Agrichem are registered as required by the Agrochemical Act. According to the company website, Agrichem strives to be the first resource for irrigation equipment, seeds and supplies. Agri-cop Agri-cop is a one stop shop for animal and crop farming. It supplies livestock feeds, medicine and seeds. It can be found in Gaborone, Letlhakane, Palapye and Serowe. Agri-feed Agri-feed is dedicated to supplying animal products, premium quality livestock feed, day old chicks, layer pullets, fertilisers, seeds, insecticides, food herbicides and agricultural equipment. Edu-Comp It supplies among other things, top farming products such as gravel, manure, compost soil to mention but a few. By developing agriculture’s potential and investing in the right tools and farming techniques, significant progress could be made in agriculture. Regardless of their size or location, farmers need technology, services and market access. 

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HEAD OFFICE TEL: +267 397 4922 FAX:+267 390 1395 | CELL:+267 713 98350/721 01081 EMAIL: STREET ADDRESS: Plot 62 International Commerce Park (GICP) Gaborone POSTAL ADDRESS: Mont-Trade (Pty) Ltd Private Bag BO 125 Bontleng Gaborone PALAPYE Tel: +267 492 4225 Fax: +267 492 4226 Cell: +267 713 33271 Email: Street address: Plot 342 Palapye Industrial Main Road

MEGA AGRI SHOP Tel: +267 316 4550/390 2365/318 6115 Fax: +267 318 6560 Cell: +267 713 24242/713 24243 Email: Street address: Plot 14400 New Lobatse Road Gaborone West Industrial LOBATSE

SELEBI-PHIKWE Tel: +267 261 4662Fax: +267 261 4662 Email: Street address: Plot 2716Selebi-Phikwe IndustrialMain Road

Cell: +267 715 79775/711 26070 Email: Street address: Plot 2158 Woodhall Industrial

FRANCISTOWN Tel: +267 244 1526 Fax: +267 244 1527 Cell:+267 713 30624/713 30680 Email: address: Plot 228 FrancistownLight Industrial

Kopano Road

website :


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Are you improving with technology leaders or are you remaining behind?

Technology for today’s farmer P O Box 403134, Gaborone

20228/2 Takatokwane Rd, Gaborone West Industrial Plot 22146Plot Nyamambisi road Gaborone West Industrial Tel: +267 3167238. Fax: +267 3167243. Cell: +267 71848141. e.mail:

Merchanized farming supplement  
Merchanized farming supplement