The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) through the Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agriculture Development (ISPAAD) will assist farmers with a 50 percent subsidy on cluster fencing, including those with less than 150 hectares, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Micus Chimbombi, has said.
Chimbombi announced in Gaborone on May 17, 2013 that the ISPAAD entitlement based on the revised package is destined for individual farmers not adjacent to neighbouring farms or who cannot be clustered to be assisted with fencing material at the 50 person subsidy.
“ISPAAD will also assist groups of farmers with fields less than 150 Ha with fencing material at 50 percent subsidy. MoA also informs Batswana that cluster fencing for areas with a minimum of 150 Ha and a maximum of 3 500 Ha will continue to be assisted at 100 percent subsidy,” said Chimbombi. “Individual farmers will be subsidized at 50 percent to construct perimeter fences of up to P70 000 while groups will receive similar assistance for the construction of fences of up to P200 000.”
Chimbombi warned, however, that in the event that individual, group or cluster farmers assisted through the ISPAAD cluster fencing component do not undertake production activities, Government will repossess the fencing material.
The provision of fencing modeled around enclosed drift fence concept is a critical element to improve the productivity of the arable sub-sector because it protects crops from damage by excluding animals from the arable fields. The experience gained from Pandamatenga is that cluster fencing is cheaper to construct and maintain because farmers share the costs.
ISPAAD replaced the Arable Land Development Programme (ALDEP) on June 30, 2008, to improve inherent low productivity of the arable sub sector farmers by assisting them to acquire requisite inputs and draught power to undertake tillage operations. ISPAAD’s primary objectives involve increasing grain production, promoting food security at household and national levels, commercializing agriculture through (farm) mechanization and improving extension outreach.
ISPAAD components include cluster fencing, provision of potable water, seeds, fertilizers, draught power, facilitation of access to credit and establishment of Agricultural Service Centres (AGCs).
To be eligible for ISPAAD benefits, farmers aged 18 years and above with Omang or residence and work permits should register with the Extension Agent. However, farmers who could not take care of their arable land face blacklisting from the benefits.