The Botswana Agriculture Marketing Board (BAMB) is optimistic that it will realize a good harvest this year due to good rains received across the country. Speaking to The Telegraph in an interview during the Pandamatenga Commercial Farmers Association agricultural show recently in Pandamatenga, the Marketing and Communications Officer at BAMB, Lerato Kwelagobe, said this year they are expecting at least 40 000 metric tonnes of sorghum from farmers.
“The country experienced good rains and we are optimistic that there will be a good harvest especially of sorghum. The amount of sorghum that we have been receiving from farmers is impressive. We are also expecting a good harvest of beans which the farmers are still harvesting,” she said.
She urged the farmers to utilize the Contract Farming Scheme offered by BAMB for their benefit as it is never affected by the market price fluctuations.
Through this scheme, BAMB identifies a market for a particular crop and contracts farmers to produce and supply it with crops such as maize, sorghum, cowpeas or beans at agreed prices before planting.
Kwelagobe said the scheme can be beneficial to farmers as it helps to reduce farmers’ exposure to price risks due to price fluctuations dictated by market conditions. She urged farmers to commercialize their arable farming operations so that they can benefit from this scheme.
“Through this programme we buy farm produce at good prices despite market price fluctuations. The scheme is also advantageous to farmers because it offers them an opportunity to budget and plan for their farming operations well on time,” she said.
She added that contract farming is not only for commercial farmers but even for small farmers. She said small farmers can qualify for the scheme if they collaborate so that they meet the tonnage required by the scheme. She further encouraged farmers to buy fertilizers from BAMB as a way of supporting the organization.
“We are also pleading with the farmers to buy our fertilizers and also help support us,” she said.
She praised the annual Pandamatenga Commercial Farmers Association (PCFA) agricultural show saying that it provides BAMB with an opportunity to meet clients. With 11 branches across the country, Kwelagobe said BAMB prioritizes the needs of its clients.
“Where we see potential for arable farming, we make sure that we are visible. We have 11 branches across the country but Pandamatenga is the key area because there is a lot of arable farming activity in the area,” she said.