Friday, March 31, 2023

Botswana falls far behind hunger and food security SDGs

Botswana far off track to meet food and agriculture related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) indicators,  a newly released report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has revealed.

The report, titled, “Tracking progress on food and agriculture related-SDG Indicators 2022”

 portrays Botswana’s performance as bleak on all hunger and  food insecurity indicators assessed.

In all of the indicators assessed, the best performance mark Botswana obtained was, “far from the target.”

The scores are,1). Target already met 2). Very close to the target 3). Close to the target 4). Far from the target 5). Very far from the target and 6). Insufficient data.

Assessed on the Prevalence of Undernourishment Botswana, Namibia and Angola scored, “far from the target” based on available data as of 2020 whilst South Africa comes out “close to the target.”. On Progress Towards Eradicating Hunger (2015-2020) Botswana obtained the mark, “Far from the target”. Whilst Namibia is reported close to the target. On the Prevalence of Food insecurity based on updated data as of 2020 Botswana scored “Very far from the target”.

Regarding Progress towards Reducing Moderate to Severe Food Insecurity, the scores were;1). Target met 2). On track 3). On path but very slow 4). No improvement 5). Deterioration and 6). Insufficient data. In this context Botswana’s score was marked, “Deterioration.”

The report raises concern that the average annual income and average productivity of small scale food producers lags far behind those of their large scale counterparts. Within this group of small scale food producers, women’s incomes have been found to be systematically and significantly lower than those of men in half of the countries with data.

Against this background, there is an indicator relating to, Progress Towards the Target of Doubling the Productivity of Small Food Producers for which available data was insufficient to appraise Botswana.

When it comes to Progress towards the target of reducing the proportion of local breeds at risk of extinction and to maintain genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their wild species, based on data for 2015-2022 Botswana’s performance also points to “Deterioration”.

Another SDG indicator referred to as Change in Agriculture Orientation Index AOI)  compares government expenditure for agriculture to the sector’s contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  Botswana’s public spending on agriculture has been found classified as, “Deterioration”.

FAO observes that for Sub-Saharan Africa in particular, low public spending on agriculture reflects poor progress towards the 2014 Malabo Declaration which commits African countries to invest 10% of their public expenditures in agriculture. According to Agriculture Orientation Index, countries are expected to  increase investment in agriculture including through enhanced international cooperation, in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services as well as technology development and plant and livestock gene bank to enhance countries’ agricultural productive capacity.


Read this week's paper