The Assistant Minister of Agricultural Development & Food Security Beauty Manake, together with Assistant Minister of Investment Trade and Industry Molebatsi Molebatsi this week visited farmers in Pandamatenga; as part of the one-government’s strategy that entails pooling national resources to improve the lives of Batswana. The two Ministers roped in key government departments and parastatals like LEA, BITC, CEDA, NDB, BAMB and SEZA on a tour of agriculture projects in Pandamatenga. When addressing farmers, Manake said the tour was aimed at reviewing government investment in agriculture and liaising with agro-producers to better understand their needs. She said there was need for both Ministries to align strategies and jointly contribute to agriculture development.
“Pooling government resources will facilitate co-operation and avoid duplication of roles,” she said.
For his part, Molebatsi said it was important for the two Ministries to work together to develop value chains in the agriculture sector and serve Batswana as a collective.
“Agriculture needs trade to take produce to the market,” he said.
GMO’S ON THE CARDS
Government has drafted a bio-security bill that will explore the possibility of ploughing GMO’s in Botswana. This was revealed by the Assistant Minister of Agriculture & Food Security Beauty Manake when addressing farmers in Pandamatenga this week. Manake was responding to concerns raised by Pandamatenga farmers, who said the ban on the use of GMO’s resulted in lost opportunities as Botswana was unable to meet its annual maize demand.
“We have long pleaded with government to set up a framework that can facilitate the use of GMO’s. The ban has resulted in Botswana failing to satisfy its annual maize demand and importing around 10 000 metric tonnes per annum. We need to work around a framework that will address concerns like seed contamination,” they said.
In response, Manake explained that government delayed the use of GMO’s because there was need to conduct extensive research to determine whether they could be harmful to the national crop and the environment.