Seed Company Managing Director Jerome Tsheole says the problem of population ageing in the Agricultural sector is a looming giant problem that the nation must pay attention to. Addressing a seminar in Gaborone, he called on the youth to seriously consider taking farming as a career and dismiss the notion that the sector is for the adults.
“Since diamonds are projected to run out by 2050, it has been forecasted that the agricultural sector will play a much more central role to the economy of Botswana. As such, the youth must actively take up farming in order to add more life to this all important sector.”
Tsheole also says the fact that over 68% of the farmers in Botswana are over 51 years of age should be impetus for policymakers to go on a nationwide tour encouraging the youth to be actively involved in this sector. “At this juncture, the youth are the solution to strengthening the agricultural sector in Botswana,’ he says.
Since Botswana is anticipated to receive very little cereals since the country experienced very little rainfall this past rain season, Tsheole said seed technology might be the answer to end food insecurity not only in Botswana but in Sub Sahara Africa.
“It has been proven through research that seed trade has potential to revitalise and end the problems of hunger and nutrition.” Amongst other things, he said there is absolutely no reason why Botswana should be relying on South Africa for cereals as the country has the potential to be “self-reliant,” adding that “It is a necessity for Botswana to advocate for agriculture and agriculture-led development as it leads to better food security and nutrition.”
Although the agricultural sector has been neglected, it is anticipated to become a critical industry on the African continent due to economic potential. Current estimates show that by 2030, the sector is projected to become a US$1trillion industry in sub-Saharan Africa.