13 September 2018

Botswana: Local Government Holds Drought Seminar

Gaborone — Implementation of the relief measures will go a long way in reducing the effects of lower agricultural output anticipated during the year, says Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Mr Boipolelo Khumomatlhare.

Speaking during the 2017/18 Drought and Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis Dissemination Seminar on September 12 Mr Khumomatlhare said this year the Botswana Vulnerability Assessment Committee (BVAC) conducted the annual Drought and Household Food Security Assessment and Analysis from the 16th April to 25th May 2018.

He said that the objectives of the assessment were to assess the season's rainfall and determine the impact of rainfall amounts on major socio-economic activities in rural areas noting that other objectives were to verify whether or not the distribution of rainfall had or was likely to severely affect plant growth, water supplies, wildlife conditions and ultimately human livelihoods and food security in general.

Mr Khumomatlhare said that they assessed the nutritional status of the under five children using information generated from the nutritional surveillance system and study emerging trends in the number and distribution of destitute persons.

He noted that they assessed progress on implementation of the supplementary feeding programme and progress on the Ipelegeng programme and poverty eradication programme as they were used to cushion against shocks such as droughts.

For his part Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security My Jimmy Opelo said robust dialogue and consultations were employed.

Mr Opelo said that it was vital for people to inquire before taking decisions citing that drought was not a surprise because it did not just appear for the Department of Meteorological Services continuously tell people on how the year would be like.

He advised farmers to put in place plans and monitoring programmes to mitigate the situation so that drought does not become a surprise to them.

The Director of Department of Rural Development and Chairperson of Botswana Vulnerability Assessment Committee Ms Serufo Ntsabane said people become vulnerable when the weather condition changes, noting that drought was global as it cut across sectors like agriculture, food security, energy, health, water and affects people hence it was important that on annual basis an assessment be undertaken.

She said at regional level, they came up with strategies on how they could institutionalise and conceptualise activities around drought and how they could build intervention and responses to these emergencies when they happen as they affect human beings.

Ms Ntsabane said the programme provided capacity building and other technical support to the member states and out of that guidelines were developed and facilitated studies where there was need to conduct in-depth research on areas such as urban vulnerability, integration of nutrition, HIV and gender as well as climate change.

Ms Ntsabane said at the national level, the committees were multi-sectoral and led by the relevant government ministries with a wide range of membership.

She said out of the assessment, they determined the seasonal rainfall and the impact of rainfall, amount of socio-economic activities in rural areas and verify whether the distribution of rain was likely to affect plant growth, water supplies, wildlife conditions and human livelihoods in general.

Ms Ntsabane said that they also assessed progress on Ipelegeng Programme and Poverty Eradication Programme as they were used to cushion against shocks such as drought. END

Source : BOPA

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