A young agribusiness entrepreneur who is doing integrated farming has called on young Batswana to embark on agribusiness and collaborate to bring about changes in food production in the country.
In an interview with this publication, Bonosi Selotlegeng, a successful fish farmer whose six hectare farm also houses a vegetable garden, orchard and two poultries said collaboration would help in the sense that value chain of agricultural produce would be taken care of.
“We import feeds for fish. These are made from grains that are produced locally, but are processed in some way. If as farmers we could collaborate someone would purchase the processing machine, get training and we would soon produce our own feeds here. It is not only fish whose feeds are imported so you can see how many opportunities are being missed by not embarking on agribusiness,” said Selotlegeng.
She decried the fact that many young Batswana associate backyard gardening with poverty eradication program, a government initiative meant to try and eradicate poverty. This she said should not be the case.
“In other countries, even in the United States of America, people make a living from backyard agricultural projects. I was in class with a teenager who was producing eggs for a fraction of a state there in the US from a backyard project. People there take every life earning activity as a business and they are open-minded. They share their experiences with business aspirants,” she said. He had gone to the United States at the invitation of authorities there, in recognition of her support of the community she operates her business in. Most of her employees originate from Gabane, a village near her farm. Most of her produce is consumed by the same community. Whenever it is time for harvesting her products, she employs temporary staff, some of whom are from the community.
She pointed to the fact that agricultural projects can be made enjoyable. She is young and can still wear stilettos when going out, yet her daily routine is taken care of, she demonstrated. She also said it is high time that young people know that the future of the country is in agriculture and that even in developed countries; agricultural sector is the leading employer. With daily cries of unemployment the youth should re-think the idea of embarking on agriculture so that they also bountifully contribute on the economic diversification and boost food security, she advised.