The Botswana Agriculture Marketing Board (BAMB) fears that crop production among 395 farmers who were contracted by the food collection board could decline as result of unfavorable weather conditions. Amongst other things, the farmers produce and supply BAMB with cereal crops.
Last week the board indicated that the 40 000 metric tones that was expected during the 2018 harvesting season is expected to be low.
BAMB Spokesperson Kushatha Modiakgotla said the unfavorable weather conditions has affected some of the farmers who engaged in contract farming.
She however said that the board will have a better picture on the 2017/2018 harvesting season after BAMB receive all the production figures from farmers.
Modiakgotla explained that the scheme allows BAMB to enter into contract with farmers to produce and supply BAMB with crops such as Sorghum, Maize, Cowpeas and Beans at agreed prices and quantities prior to planting.
Modiakgotla explained that in the absence of drought the scheme usually produces the desired results.
For 2018 ploughing season, the board is said to have signed contract for over 40 000Mt. Contracted farmers are in the Northern as well as the Southern part of the country in places such as Borolong, Kanye, Jwaneng , Pandamatenga, Etsha and Serowe .
“With the previous weather conditions we have noted that farmers have been affected by scotching heat despite the heavy late rains which benefitted those who planted late”, she added.
Modiakgotla explained that most of the crops that survived were the ones that were planted late.
She went further to explain that the production at the end of harvesting season will have a bearing on whether BAMB will start importing cereal crops from neighboring countries.
It has also emerged that BAMB Strategic Grain Reserve has ran out of Maize while Sorghum stand at 30 000 Mt and 2000 Mt of Cowpeas.
At the same time, cereal production in the Southern Africa region is expected to be below average despite the late heavy rainfall which benefitted the late planted crops.
Modiakgotla stated that this was exacerbating by late rains, minimal to low rains during the planting season.
The BAMB admission comes hardly a few months after the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organizations quarterly report listed Botswana among countries that were going to face unfavorable crop production in 2018.