Botswana’s food security: Climate Smart Agriculture to the rescue

15 Jul 2019

BY CEDRIC SWANKA

Botswana, just like other countries, has finally developed its Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) manual book, thanks largely to the Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation – BITRI

The state owned research entity – BITRI recently handed the blue-print document to the Ministry of Agricultural development and food security which was also attended by officials of the United Nations Development Fund.

The Botswana CSA manual encompasses a bundle of production techniques and inputs that could help local farmers adapt to changing weather conditions across the country according to BITRI.

Amongst the recommendations made by the BITRI authored CSA manual is the establishment of a fund that would support nurturing and dissemination of smallholder farmers’ innovations. It has also recommended that the Agriculture ministry consider undertaking a country wide soil fertility investigations and come up with soil fertility status maps/atlases and fertilizer type recommendations, to compliment climate smart agriculture interventions across the country.

“We are worried about the effect of climate change it is one of the things Government is concerned about it affects Botswana`s ability to attain food security as all over the world food security has become a challenge because of climate change. If we fail to respond to climate change we will fail to produce food for our people.” said Associate researcher climate change and Society at BITRI - Kgomotsego Motlopi.

The project which took three and a half years to complete is regarded as a tool to attainment of food security for Botswana.

Deputy Director of Crops Production Department - Barutwa Thebenala says agriculture in Botswana is currently grappling with drought due to the effects of climate change such as high temperatures resulting in prolonged heat wave, erratic and unreliable rainfall.

Amongst others things, Botswana’s CSA manual determines risk factors to the attainment of food security by smallholder dry land arable farmers and subsequently co-develop with farmers the use of climate smart technologies to increase productivity and farmers resilience.

Climate change has over the past decades had direct impact on food security and livelihoods of people in Africa including in Botswana. It is manifested by shifting seasons, erratic rainfall, recurrent droughts, torrential rainfall when it rains, disappearance of rivers, appearance of diseases where they never thrived and so forth.