Farmers in the Central District will be harvesting thistles this year due to drought and hot weather. A statement from the crop production office in Serowe says about 16 360 hectares of land had been ploughed but, .
The Regional Crop Production Officer, Mr. Onkutule Baitemi, said in an interview with BOPA that another factor contributing to the low yield is that farmers ploughed late between December 2006 and January 2007.
He said crops in Selebi-Phikwe, Mahalapye and Serowe are between the vegetative and the flowering stages and therefore would not make it this season if it does not rain by March.
Should rains fall next month, he said farmers would reap something from crops such as beans and ground nuts.
Mr. Baitemi also said farmers in Machaneng and Bobonong areas stood a chance of reaping better yields because they started ploughing earlier last year and thus got the best out of the rains that were experienced last year.
Though the yield is expected to be low, he explained that the highest number of hectares ploughed this season was 5 955 for sorghum, followed by maize at 4 790, cowpeas 1 812, ground nuts 938, millet 663, and melons at 759 hectares.
Others were sweet reeds at 377 hectares, squash and sunflower at more than 20.31 and 43 hectares respectively while beans hectarage stood at over 999.
Out of these, he said, Machaneng has the highest number of hectares ploughed at 4226.81, followed by Bobonong at 3780.2 and Serowe areas with 2904.5.
Selebi-Phikwe and Palapye areas ploughed 2085 and 2020.8 hectares respectively. Mrs. Ketenegile Remolwetse, a subsistent arable farmer at Khubu-la-bopedi about 10 km west of Serowe said she is not expecting good harvest due to the scarcity of rains and the harsh weather conditions.
She said she is harvesting morogo wa Setswana in her field, as it could not stand the hot, dry conditions.
Though she felt P900, which she hired a tractor to plough three hectares with, was money down the drain she was hopeful for a better yield in the next ploughing season.