Friday, June 21, 2024

Botswana embraces climate smart agriculture

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 paper which is part of the research output for a four year research project brought together conservation stakeholders at Travel Lodge in the capital Gaborone this week.

During the workshop, experts discussed the paper in preparation for its presentation to policy makers at government enclave.

Leader of the SASSCAL 335, Dr Rosemary Kobue-Lekalake said in a brief interview after the half-day workshop that the draft paper titled; ‘policy recommendations to support production and value addition of emerging crops in Botswana: Morama bean and Mungongo’ that their project ends in April 2018.

Apparently, though the policy paper was about the two, focus is on all ‘smart climate emerging crops.’ Other crops covered by research were kgengwe and mogose. These were covered under a research project titled; ‘Cultivation, value addition and marketing of climate smart emerging crops to improve food security in Botswana’

Focus on these crops; Kobue-Lekalake said was triggered by the fact that; as agricultural production intensified over the years, these indigenous resources experienced high levels of exploitation due to land degradation, deforestation, over-grazing and bush encroachment.

She further explained that one of the project’s objectives was to develop evidence based policy recommendations that could support production and value addition of Emerging Crops.

And so the workshop came up with recommendations. Altogether seven recommendations were reached. The workshop recommended that there should be promotion of domestication, commercialization and conservation of morama and mungongo as expressed in NDP 11, Vision 2036 and UN Agenda. There should be establishment of value chain for morama and mungongo in consultation with knowledge holders and indigenous users as they have indigenous belief systems on the extraction and utilization of the resources. There should be promotion of morama and mungongo enterprises championed by women and youth. There should be establishment of robust and cost effective inventory on morama and mungongo to provide information on distribution, abundance and potential risks or threats. There should be support of interdisciplinary research teams and promotion of multi-stakeholder processes to enhance the use of morama and mungongo. That there should be funding for research and development efforts in domestication and commercialization of diversifying crops base as well as identify and manage risks in incorporating morama and mungongo into the cropping system in Botswana.


Read this week's paper