Local farmers have been given a lifeline following government’s decision to extend the ploughing and planting season in the country following unfavourable weather in the new year.
The Ministry of Agriculture’s Principal Public Relations Officer, Boikhutso Rabasha, explained that the move followed the realisation that rains have come late in the southern region and flooding in some northern parts of the country which has caused delays in the onset of ploughing and planting operations.
“However, farmers should take note that this is a special dispensation owning to rainfall patterns and they are further advised to plant early maturing varieties to beat the onset of frost,” said the ministry.
According to the ministry, the cropping season under ISPAAD has been extended from January 31 to February 7 in the South of Dibete cordon fence and February 15 to 22 on the North of Dibete cordon fence.
“Farmers and tractor owners should note that the cutoff dates for ploughing/ planting continue to be determined by the climatic conditions such as the onset of winter and reduction in day length,” added the ministry.
“Winter frost and shorter daylight inhibits physiological plant growth and maturity. In the southern part of the country, winter comes earlier than in the northern part, hence the different cutoff dates.”
Farmers who feared that they would not be able to plough and plant under ISPAAD as its term ends on January 31 for farmers on the South of Dibete cordon fence and February 15 north of Dibete cordon fence will breathe a sigh of relief following the Ministry of Agriculture‘s announcement that there has been some extension.
Principal Public Relations officer in the MOA, Boikhutso Rabasha, says that the extension of times was made after realisation that rains have come late in the southern region of the country and flooding in some northern parts of the country which has caused delays in the onset of ploughing and planting operations.
She warned farmers that they should take note that this a special dispensation owing up to the rainfall patterns and advised them to plant early maturing varieties to beat onset of frost.
The ministry’s Crops Division Director, Galeitsewe Ramakatane, said recently that only 40,000 hectares have been ploughed in the country. The majority of those hectares, he said, were in the southern part of the country in the areas of Kgatleng, Kweneng, Ngwaketse and Borolong whilst few hectares have been planted in the northern part.
He attributed this mainly to the fact that Batswana do not prepare for ploughing well in time but start their preparations at the time they are expected to be already ploughing.