The Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board will not be importing grains for a second financial year, thanks to the bumper harvest after the past ploughing season. This is according to BAMB Public Relations Officer Lorato Kwelagobe.
She says that their purchase of grain had grown from 31,083mt in 2013\ 2014 to 65,846mt in 2013-2014. The crops that have pushed the bumper harvest she explained are sorghum, maize, sunflower, pulses and millet.
Farmers on the other hand, she said, have been encouraged to produce more by their contract farming scheme. Under this scheme, BAMB identifies a market for a particular crop and contracts farmers to produce it and supply BAMB with crops such as maize, sorghum, cowpeas or beans at agreed prices and quantities prior to planting.
This measure helps to minimize farmer’s exposure to prices risks due to prices fluctuations dictated by market conditions which she says empower local farmers to commercialize their arable farming operations.
The facility, Kwelagobe said, is open to any farmer who produces locally provided they can produce 10mt or more per crop. In order to give chance to emerging farmers, she said that this year they have changed from demand of 10mt per crop to 5mt per crop.
On the advantages of the scheme, she said that the scheme offers producers 100 percent guarantee on a minimum price for the product. Further, in instances where buying prices drop during harvest season, the farmer’s income is secured.
Besides that, she says that it also gives farmers the opportunity to budget and plan their farming operations well ahead and that upon delivery, the farmer is paid within seven days, and thus capitalizes on any price increase.
ISPAAD is created for the bumper harvest. Recently Ministry of Agriculture Principal Public Relations Officer, Moreri Moesi, said that they are doing everything to make sure that there is going to be another bumper harvest next season.