The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) this week said that it was going ahead with the annual National Agricultural show, despite financial constraints.
District shows will start in July with the finals being held in Gaborone in August.
Dr Micus Chimbombi, the Permanent Secretary in the MoA, said that, though Debswana pulled out from financially sponsoring the show, they are willing to continue with the proceedings in preparation for the show. Debswana has, for the past years, sponsored the show with an amount of P600 000 but have pulled out this year, reportedly because of the credit crunch.
Chimbombi, however, acknowledged and thanked the company for the moral support they have continued to offer the show committee.
Welcoming guests at the breakfast meeting held today (Thursday 18 June), Chimbombi highlighted that the ministry needs the invited parties to “hold hands” with the ministry and help them make the event a success. He appealed to the guests to support the show financially.
Present at the occasion were Chief Executive officers from different institutions, like the Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB), Mahindra Botswana, Nutri Feeds Botswana, and BBI, amongst others.
He noted to the audience that, though over the years the agricultural show was part of the Global Expo, they received complaints from stakeholders that the Global Expo was not affording them the opportunity to showcase their products and that the season was also not favourable for showcasing some of the agricultural products.
“That’s why the Agriculture ministry decided to proceed on its own for the past two years,” he said.
During the breakfast meeting, the tentative program of the show was revealed.
The chairman of the Show Committee, Stanley Mosielele, presented the menu of the show, ranging from cereal crops, fruits, oil seeds, processed foods, legumes, vegetables, ostrich, rabbit, goat, and sheep prices.
The menu also comprised of the chicken, bull and pig prices.
The most expensive was the cattle prices totaling P208 500 and the least expensive being the ostrich category which cost P41 500.
The fruits, vegetables, oil seeds, legumes and processed foods all were at P56 500.
The rabbits sector required P91 000 sponsorship for all districts whereas the goats, pig and sheep sections required P135 000. To sponsor the champion cock and hen a grand total of P91 000 is required.
The CEO of BAMB, Masego Mphathi commented that he was concerned with the judging criteria used over the years. He said that the judging should be based on productivity rather than been done on the basis of what is being exhibited during the show.
In response, the Agricultural Show Committee assured the attendants that they will, in due time, monitor crop products in the fields during production and also assess the end product.
Some of the attendants showed concern regarding the change of time for the final show arguing that most people attended the show in the morning and retired to watch the Coca ÔÇôCola Cup matches, which took place at around the same time as the show before it broke away from the Global Expo.
Other attendants also said that the show “should be taken to the people”, saying that the different districts within the country should take turns in hosting the show.
The Chief Agricultural Information and Public Relations officer, Mogogi Kojane, responded, saying that the show could not be moved around because “the infrastructure in Gaborone and the equipment we require to host an event of such magnitude cannot be moved around”.
Matshego Gobuamang, a member of the Agricultural Committee and farmer, assured the attendants that an auction game could be arranged after the show.
“We can find a game more related to us than football,” he asserted.
On giving the vote of thanks, Gobuamang reminded the audience that, “The plate in front of you started in a farm somewhere, whether as a seed or sperm or ovule.”
He added that farming is an expensive venture.
The event closed on a happy note with Dave Gilbert from Nutri Feeds Botswana pledging P200 000 to be used across all sections and Esther Norris, an employee of Barclays Bank, donating P500 from her pocket.