Sunday, June 16, 2024

Out ISPAAD, in ‘Temo Letlotlo’

The Government has indicated that the anticipated new arable Agriculture program, Temo Letlotlo, which is to replace Integrated Support Program for Arable Agriculture Development (ISPAAD)  will be implemented in the upcoming ploughing season.

Initially the government had planned to roll out the revised program in the 2021-2022 ploughing season but later shelved the idea for unknown reasons.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Nancy Chengeta said the new program was established to maximize production and encourage commercialization while reducing budget leakages which were experienced with ISPAAD.

“We are working on a new Arable farming program which will replace the commonly known ISPAAD which will come under the name Temo Letlotlo. The objectives were mainly driven by our experiences from the ISPAAD era where ISPAAD was really not targeted therefore Temo Letlotlo will be targeted because it will promote commercialization and we are looking at a program that will also assist government reduce wastage be it in government funds as well as increase production and productivity and to focus more on output as opposed to input,” she said.

The Ministry Accounting Officer further explained that the reviewed program is expected to improve livelihoods of many farmers in different parts of the country adding that it was long overdue to review the program.

Chengeta added that financial constraints have always been the biggest stumbling block in improving programs to be more appealing and beneficial to the entire citizens.

“We have a budgetary constraint but as the Ministry we want to revert to the good old times because Agriculture used to contribute 40% to the gross domestic product but those numbers have fallen down dramatically,” she said.

Chengeta highlighted that more focus has always been pinned on diamonds and thus forgetting the impact of the Agricultural sector.

She stated that the new program which will enable farmers to commercialize Agriculture will seek to address issues of defaulting payments to tractor owners who are often engaged to plough for citizens.

The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary also said it has been frustrating to realize that payment for drought power also comes late arguing that the Ministry had a serious tight budget.

Chengeta further said with the ongoing shortage of grain supply in the country, introducing Temo Letlotlo will come handy in grain production.

“To date we have planted 235 000 hectares and the current review has shown that we planted less area this ploughing season compared to the 2021-2022 season. However we have commercial areas such as Mosisedi and Pandamatenga where we will continue to see substantial cereal production mainly because the crop management system there is different from the general subsistence and adoption of technologies,” said Chengeta.

The programme, which will guide next year’s arable assistance is intended to increase yield of selected crops through the introduction of output based encashment, introduction of insurance cover, seasonal guarantee loans as well as robust promotion of climate smart agriculture; promotion of investment in crop production by increasing agricultural commodities in the product space from four to at least ten products.

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