Sunday, October 17, 2021

Doom and gloom for crop production in Botswana?

It is doom and gloom for Botswana as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Quarterly (FAQ) Global report list Botswana among countries that will face unfavourable crop production prospects in 2018.

The unfavourable crop production prospects have been linked to the effects of climate such as lack of rainfall and El-Niino.

FAO forecast comes at a time when Botswana has recorded to date a total of 42 800 hectares had been planted by 8 123 farmers compared to 167 562 planted by 32 650 farmers during the 2016/17 season.

Scotching heat and lack of rainfall has resulted in farmers crops being destroyed country wide while other farmers have never attempted to tilt their land.

The FAO indicated that countries facing unfavourable crop production prospects are countries where forecasts point to a decrease in the cereal output compared to the five-year average, as a result of a reduction of the area planted.

 It also stated that prospects in Southern Africa point to a likely decline on account of erratic seasonal rains and an intense dry period in January; however, the aggregate output is expected to remain close to the average.

The report has not listed Botswana among countries that will need food relief. Among countries that will need food relief in SADC is Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe as result of failed production that was caused by lack of rainfall.

The report further warned that Food security conditions are expected to worsen in 2018 in southern and some central provinces, due to the unfavourable weather conditions that are anticipated to cause a reduction in the 2018 cereal harvest. 

Agriculture Minister Patrick Ralotsia has indicated that farmers were unable to cultivate their farms due to lack of rainfall. He said so far a total of 42 800 hectares has been planted by 8123 farmers compared to 167562 planted by 32 650 farmers during 2016/17 season.

Ralotsia indicated when presenting the ministry budget proposal that the Department of Crop Production was allocated more than P200 million to with address food security in the country.

The Department of Meteorological Service , Principal Meteorologist , Radithupa Radithupa was  of the view that it is not yet doom and gloom despite the country experiencing dry spell in  the first month of the year.

He defends the department early weather predictions last year that in the first month of January and March the country will transit into a wet season.

He said that though the country has been experiencing dry spell in the first month of the year there has been rains in some areas in the country.

He is of the view that some farmers are likely to benefit from the recent rains in the country.

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