25 April 2018

Botswana: Ralotsia Encourages Modern Agricultural Practices

Mmathethe — Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Mr Patrick Ralotsia says agricultural technologies will have the greatest impact on food production if adopted in combination with other modern farming techniques.

Mr Ralotsia, who is also a prominent farmer and Member of Parliament for Kanye North was giving a motivational talk during a tractor operator training and quality seed bed preparation through correct use of implements at Ramogomana demonstration farm near Mmathethe on Tuesday.

He said if the thought of getting one's hands dirty had kept an individual away from agriculture, they would find modern farming methods amazingly refreshing.

"By utilising proven modern farming techniques and science-based solutions, which are readily available, farmers can increase productivity, efficiency, and profitability as well as reduce malnutrition and enhance food security," he said.

Mr Ralotsia stated that the good news was that technologies had been developed to help farmers cope with challenges and return a one acre to high productivity.

He noted that government was committed in supporting farmers who showed passion and dedication in their work and encouraged the farmers to pull-up their socks.

"I urge you all to plough your fields or rent it out to people who have passion in agricultural activities," he said.

He raised a concern about under-utilisation of commonly known fertile arable farming areas.

He advised farmers to stop depending on unreliable rainfall but instead should find some means to improve the quality of agriculture, adding that countries like Israel produced more food even though they were in a desert and the country experienced low rainfall.

However, Mr Ralotsia cautioned some group of people who got seeds and fertilizers freely and sell them afterwards. He said that some of them committed that crime with the help of some agricultural demonstrators.

Kgosi Daniel Mathiba of Mmathethe shared the sentiments with the minister about people who refused to rent their unutilised farms.

He complained about livestock roaming in villages that were destroying plant decorations and fences. He urged farmers to look after their livestock.

The owner of the Ramogomana farm, Mr Peter Badenhorst thanked the ministry for holding such training in his farm.

He said even though rain came late this season and started ploughing on February 7, the crops were doing well. He encouraged other farmers to work hard to produce food.

Another prominent farmer, Mr John Phirinyane who also thanked Mr Ralotsia for good agricultural programmes available and encouraged Batswana to utilise them.

Mr Phirinyana urged the minister to develop ISPAAD programme because it is very profitable to farmers, despite problems of climate change encountered.

Source: BOPA

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