The Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Edison N. Wotho has said the country has sufficient cereal and bean reserves to last at least 12 months, despite the unusually poor crop production due to low or no rainfall in the conventional arable agricultural areas.
Speaking during a press conference in Gaborone Wotho assured Batswana that despite the bleak outlook, all was not ‘doom and gloom’.┬á
The latest Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) Plant Production statistics on Cereal Production and Consumption, Pandamatenga commercial farms have planted 19, 385 hectares (ha) out of 25,000 ha millet; 123 tons of cowpeas and 70 tons of soya beans had already been harvested.
“However, planners will only be able to provide more fairly accurate food reserve estimates, when the figures for the 2014/15 harvest from the entire country become available”, said the BAMB CEO.
Wotho’s comments came in the aftermath of Acting MoA Minister Patrick Ralotsia’s press briefing on the 2014/14 season crop failure.
According to Ralotsia, crop production in 2015 is evolving to be bad, as currently most crops are already showing signs of total failure due to stunted growth. Other crops have reached permanent wilting point due to prolonged dry spells and heat waves which engulfed the country.
“In the 2013/14 cropping season, 127 511 farmers ploughed and planted 417 000 ha. In the current 2014/15 season, the total area under cropping decreased to 127 800 ha for 28 000 farmers. Due to the unfavourable weather conditions 2014/15 is going to be a difficult one, unlike previously when we had good showers which resulted in a bumper harvest.
”Due to the adverse weather conditions, pests of economic importance such as Quelea, Army Worm, locust and fruit fly are not posing serious threats.”