Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Botswana commits to climate smart agriculture

MAUN – Rising temperatures and changes in weather patterns are significantly shaping the face of world agriculture. In Africa, including Botswana, climate change is emerging as one of the major threats to sustainable development. These changes, coupled with the continent’s fast population growth, are calling into question the ability of agriculture to continue to meet the country’s food needs.

To redress these changes, governments and communities across the continent are already transforming farming practices to ensure a food-secure future.

In Botswana, a policy document says food security and sustainability must be achieved in the context of integrated development planning and land use reforms that can reduce natural resources degradation, human wildlife conflicts and significantly contribute to job creation and poverty eradication.

Climate change has been aggravated by the advent of Covid-19 pandemic in rural communities; especially in areas where tourism was the main source of income to many households.

In a bid to alleviate the situation, a Maun-based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) called SAVE Wildlife Conservation Fund has taken the initiative to float an advert in its social media page, calling for Community Based Organisations (CBOs) proposals for Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) Funding.

The advert defines CSA as an integrated approach to managing landscapes-cropland, livestock, and fisheries that address the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change.

“The objective of the SAVE climate smart fund is to assist rural communities who are hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic to increase agricultural productivity and build resilience to climate change risks in small holder farming and pastoral communities by scaling up CSA agricultural practices, strengthening markets in both rural and urban areas in Botswana,” underpins the advert.

The climate smart agricultural activities are funded with grants for P50, 000 with the objective of increasing food security in rural Botswana.

Already there are beneficiaries from areas like Shakawe and Maun. Tirelo Ramasimong, SAVE Community Development Officer told Sunday standard that,” Hope of Living Centre (HLC), a legally registered organization located in Shakawe intends to create employment, reduce poverty and provide food security to the local populaces by developing a horticultural project. HLC has a total of 30 women from Shakawe and Mohembo who are the beneficiaries of the project. The produce from the garden will be sold to local market and support vulnerable groups in the community. HLC has received BWP 49,048.11 from SAVE and BWP 40, 148.11 has already been disbursed to implement their phase one stage which includes procurement of materials -fencing and irrigation system.”

Shelter Botswana, a Home-Based Care Organization (HBCO) which serves as a source of refuge for vulnerable children in Maun has been funded by SAVE to a tune of P 38,000.00 to purchase materials, tools and seeds for expansion of the backyard garden. The HBCO centre has 38 Orphan Vulnerable Children and ten workers. The SAVE funded project intends to generate income by selling fruits and vegetables of which 20 per cent of the produce will be allocated to children as weekly meals while 80 percent will be sold and the money used to sustain the organization.

Another Shakawe- based CBO, TOCaDI intends establishing a community organic vegetable at Shaikarawe, a village approximately 15 kilometres away from Shakawe and 10 kilometres West of Mohembo. The project, which is led by ten members, representing ten households aims to relief poverty and unemployment challenges during the Covid 19 era. The organization has been funded to an amount of P 35,010.74 by SAVE. P 30, 165.42 of phase one has already been disbursed to procure materials for the vegetable garden.

Ramasimong said CSA refers to agricultural practices that are environment friendly. Use of organic products for pest control is promoted in this type of farming.

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