Gaborone — Agricultural shows are important forums that give both government and the private sector the opportunity to discuss issues that affect the sector, says Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Mr Patrick Ralotsia.
Speaking during a ceremony to reward and recognise farmers who excelled during this year's show, Mr Ralotsia expressed hope that both sectors have had the opportunity to discuss and share ideas and solutions that could mitigate the challenges the sector was experiencing.
The minister, who was accompanied by assistant minister Mr Kgotla Autlwetse, said challenges facing agriculture have increased over the years. He called for the establishment of a collective body to formulate strategies to moderate the challenges.
"Challenges have increased because we see an increase in the number and variety of pests, the emergence of new diseases like tomato leaf minor and frequent climate change resulting in erratic rainfall, like Dineo and droughts," said Mr Ralotsia.
Furthermore, he said it called for a change in approach and technology adoption to lessen the effects of climate change and enhance food security and employment creation.
Minister Ralotsia said he was delighted that a number of youth were taking part in agriculture and agricultural shows.
"The backbone of every country is its agricultural sector, I am so delighted to see a number of youth and women participating in this show. This year we have to also appreciate them," he said.
Some of the biggest winners of the day included Lemcke Ranches whose Simmental female cow won the Grand Champion of the Yard.
Lemcke Ranches manager, Mr Hugo Lemcke gave credit to his head boys, saying they put all the effort in preparing the cow for the show.
"A lot is done to prepare for this show, it is not just about feeding the animals. There is a lot that goes behind the scenes, all credit should go to our animal handlers, our head boys. We have to take good care of them as they take care of our farms," he said.
Other winners included Tholo holdings, Mr Tshepo Masire, Mr Thapelo Setlalekgosi, Mr Hennie Schutte and Mr Kedikapile Velskoen.
Source : BOPA