Friday, September 25, 2020

Gov’t leases 16 farms to prop up food security

The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) has, in a bid to encourage farmers to produce food to feed the nation, leased 16 farms around the country to farmers.

The Director of Animal Production, Lesitamang Paya, said that the farms are leased to citizens and non citizens for a period of 25 years at varying costs from P4, P6, and P8 per hectare per year depending on the status of the development of the farm.

A farm with intact fence is leased at P8 per hectare per year. Paya denied reports that the farms were not advertised before they were leased out as some people claim saying that the ranches were advertised in the Government Gazette, private newspapers and the Daily News.

Besides that, he said that different Ministers have also published their leasing when addressing meetings around the country.

“The leasing of farms was well advertised in the local, government and the private media,” he said.

Four of those farms are located in Ngamiland, 7 in central District, 1 in south East Southern 2 and two in Kgalagadi.

The farms, he explained, were before being leased used as demonstration, livestock research and quarantine ranches.

On what they claim to achieve by leasing the farms, Paya said that they hope that the allocation of those farms to farmers will help the commercialisation of livestock sub sector in two ways.

It will attempt to avail the under utilised ranch for use by farmers and that this will help to increase the national herd and also that the farmers that were allocated the farms will add value to the industry by producing top quality breeding stock , with some used for weaners back grounding, which will support feedlot industry in the country.

He further explained that through feedlots they hope this would increase animals of better carcass quality to supply to the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC).

BMC is always raising complaints about insufficient supply of cattle by farmers in Botswana for slaughter and, recently, it has been raising prices to entice farmers to sell more cattle to it.
Paya said that two of the farms were reserved for youth in line with national youth empowerment strategy.

In a related issue of utilising unused land for production of food in the country, several high ranking government officials have recently been going around the country urging people with unused masimo to rent them to people who would like to use such land for farming purposes.

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