Botswana is set to achieve improved yields in crop production this year better than in the previous years due to favourable rains that covered vast parts of the country recently.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Micus Chimbombi said due to the expected record harvest from across the country, the national food security remains generally ‘satisfactory’.
“I can comfortably say the national food security is stable. The past cropping season was better and as a result prospects of enhanced yields looks good,” he stated.
Addressing a press conference together with the Minister of Agriculture Christian de Graff on Tuesday this week, Chimbombi further noted that most farmers across the country have indicated that they expect a good harvest this year.
Minister de Graff was later to share Chimbombi’s sentiments adding that, “a record harvest is expected this year. I have recently visited the Pandamatenga farms and most farmers there are expecting to produce between three and four tonnes per hectare.”
A combination of drought and misguided economic policies has over the years resulted in decreased food security in the country which saw an upward trend in prices of food more especially grain.
Chimbombi added that currently, the nation remains generally food secure, despite the previous peak of the lean season.
Government programmes such as ISPAAD are said to be helping to ameliorate acute the food insecurity in the country.
Earlier this year, local farmers were given a lifeline after the government decided to extend the ploughing and planting season following unfavourable weather late last year.
The Ministry of Agriculture’s Principal Public Relations Officer, Boikhutso Rabasha, explained that the move followed the realisation that rains have come late in the southern region and flooding in some northern parts of the country which has caused delays in the onset of ploughing and planting operations.
“However, farmers should take note that this is a special dispensation owning to rainfall patterns and they are further advised to plant early maturing varieties to beat the onset of frost,” said Rabasha.
The prospects of better yields this year, which have been attributed to favourable crop growing conditions in the current agricultural season, mean that food prices are likely to remain stable.
Fresh information suggests that over 40,000 hectares have been ploughed countrywide with the majority of those hectares being in the southern part of the country in the areas of Kgatleng, Kweneng, Ngwaketse and Barolong.