Botswana exported just over 1 000 tonnes of organic fertilisers to South Africa last year and it is hoped that the figure will increase this year.
Michael Hallam, Managing Director of Organic Fertilisers Manufacturers Botswana (OFMB), told his audience, among them Minister of Agriculture Patrick Ralotsia at the company’s official opening on Thursday
“We do prefer to produce organic and organic blended fertilisers but we can also supply chemical blended fertilisers. So we are not restricted to what we can supply. We supplied 2 300 tonnes to the local market. We had orders for double this amount but regrettably the drought restricted that. This year we are aiming for 10 000 tonnes into the local market and export 4 000 tonnes,” said Hallam.
He explained that with the equipment they currently have their capacity for organic fertilisers granulated is 30 000 tonnes per annum. Over and above they can supply another 5 000 tons of pelleted organic fertiliser which was done in the past season. He said this did not include thousands of tonnes of powdered organic material in the form of composts and lawn dressing that the company also produces.
“Fertiliser products seem to be revolutionising themselves at the moment and we with the help of our suppliers Petronex and DFERT we are blending and introducing new products. Bio-organics are included in our fertilisers as additives to ensure maximum reactions in the soil. We have a special blend suited for the Pandamatenga area.
“We have a special ‘Okavango Eco Fertiliser’ which will be suited for those areas that are ecologically sensitive to chemicals. With this fertiliser we hope to supply thousands of farmers and massively increase their production. We are also introducing organic pesticides and fungicides to the market,” he said.
He said on the recommendations of the Ministry of Agriculture, and in conjunction with some of their private sector partners, they would be adopting four farming clusters in various parts of the country to advice them on the best fertiliser inputs at the right time.
“Secondly, we are going to launch a school programme where we are going to help teach the practical side of farming in schools. If by doing we can help produce just five farmers per school per year Botswana will soon be producing enough food for export I am sure,” he said.
Farmers were their most important assets and they had to supply them with the right products for their farming conditions. The environment, he said, was changing and there was need to change with it.