4 February 2018

Botswana: Government Committed to Assisting Farmers

Mathangwane — Government has made a commitment to assist farmers through different programmes to enable them to produce enough food to feed Batswana.

Acknowledging a statement from village elders' representative, Mr Melton Bangale in Mathangwane at his farewell meeting on February 1, President Khama noted that at the time he took office in 2008, it was at the peak of recession and the country was also faced with crisis of unemployment, drought and the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease which needed urgent attention.

All these, he said posed a lot of challenges for government to sustain the economy and the nation and it made him together with his Cabinet to come up with initiatives which would ensure that the country's economy remained afloat.

President Khama therefore stated that it was through such programmes as Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agricultural Development (ISPAAD) and Livestock Management and Infrastructure Development (LIMID) that Batswana in general retraced their steps back to the fields which many had abandoned to produce.

He added that with a good number of people producing foods, it helped in that the food import bill was reduced while Batswana had enough to meet local demand.

He nonetheless urged local farmers not to give up on production of food as a result of unreliable rains because due to climate change such situations would remain as they were, with the expected times of rains to come not coming forth.

He therefore said it was important that farmers took note of advices from their agricultural demonstrators at all times so that they can know which seeds to plant at a particular rain season.

Meanwhile, Mr Bangale also appreciated President Khama's administration for assisting farmers with installation of power at their fields at no cost noting that majority of them in the Shashe Basin along the Shashe river now had power in their farms, a thing many had failed to do as a result of high installation costs.

He also commended the President for having assisted farmers through programmes such as ISPAAD.

Regarding the status of women, a message of applause from women representative Ms Mpho Dingalo said it was during President Khama's reign that women started to earn more recognition to the extent that many assumed high positions in government and even in the private sector.

She added that even in parliament there was an increase of women legislators.

In his response, the President noted that his government took note of gender equity and they encouraged women to take up leadership positions but however pointed out that there was still need for women to stand up to the challenge and have their numbers increased in parliament.

With a good number of them, he said some would be given positions in the Cabinet.

For his part, Member of Parliament for Shashe West, Mr Fidelis Molao appreciated the encouragement he received from President Khama noting that it had empowered him to serve his constituency better over the years he has been in office.

He also commended the President for the Economic Stimulus Programme which he said as a constituency they had benefited from citing the refurbishment of schools, construction of classrooms and teachers in some schools in the area that have had serious shortage of accommodation for teachers.

He further applauded the constituency fund which he also said had helped develop their village in a short period of time.

Source : BOPA

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