After many pleas by some farmers from western Botswana that government should set up a special ISPAAD program that would take into consideration their arid weather conditions, Minister of Agriculture Christian De Graaf recently announced that government has set up a special ISPAAD program for the concerned areas, which include Ghanzi, Kweneng west and the western parts of the southern district.
In the program, designed to cover resource poor areas, beneficiaries will be assisted with karakul, ordinary sheep or goats, tswana chickens, guinea fowls and assistance to produce water melons under conservation agriculture. Besides this group, farmers with less than 200 cattle will be covered with up to 50 percent to buy karakul and ordinary sheep. For their livestock, farmers will be assisted with up to P120, 000 to construct dams or equip already existing boreholes, in realization of the importance of water to agriculture production. Farmers who opt for small stock will be given 13 karakul sheep and one ram or 13 ordinary sheep or goats and a ram without being requested to contribute, provided they qualify for the scheme. Those who qualify to benefit are only those who have not benefited from any other poverty eradication program.
Recently the MOA stated that they spent a total of P80 million in the past ploughing season under the ISPAAD program. The program is aimed at increasing food production in the country. In the last ploughing season the ISPAAD program was extended on several occasions to allow farmers who had not ploughed due to poor rains to plough. However, in the past questions were raised whether the program was achieving its desired objective of making the country self sufficient in food production.
Amongst those who raised that question was Member of Parliament for Tati East constituency, Guma Moyo.