Metlobo — Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Mr Patrick Ralotsia has appealed to farmers to use government programmes such as the Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agriculture Development (ISPAAD).
Mr Ralotsia, who was addressing kgotla meeting in Metlobo recently said government had injected funds into the agricultural sector in order to assist farmers produce more and ultimately improve food security and promote sustainable economic diversification.
"Despite all these efforts, farmers still fail to utilise programmes to the maximum," he said.
He urged Batswana to desist from relying on imports "because there is land and free government programmes."
He also expressed concern over ploughing fields that were left unattended by some farmers.
He said it was also disturbing that farmers did not tend to their livestock and as a result destroyed crops.
He also urged farmers to form cluster groups so that government could assist them to fence their fields and drill boreholes for them.
Mr Ralotsia, who is also Member of Parliament for Kanye North, further urged residents to form clusters so as to benefit from ISPAAD.
He also appealed to farmers who did not use their lands to rent them out to those who could use them.
On plans at his ministry, Mr Ralotsia said they would improve roads and connect electricity to farms.
He said his ministry had devised strategies of ensuring that food was produced with the little rain or more rain.
On other issues he was concerned about primary school results, urging parents and teachers to work together.
VDC chairperson Ms Mmabontle Mokgotle applauded government programmes like ISPAAD and LIMID but noted that there was shortage of LIMID goats to assist farmers in need.