Serowe — Farmers have been encouraged to engage in horticulture and contribute to the growth of the agricultural sector as well as improve food security.
Crosscorn Seed Company finance manager, Mr Tebogo Motingwa stated during an agricultural mini-show held at Makoro lands near Palapye recently that Batswana should take advantage of government policies and programmes to start projects with potential to create employment and reduce poverty.
CrossCorn is an established and successful market leader in the agribusiness sector in Botswana located at Mmamashia.
Its objective is to provide Botswana's farmers with the highest quality of climatically suitable high-yielding seeds.
Mr Motingwa said government had for long been providing the community with information on how to start their own businesses and improve their lives, noting that now was the time to act.
He emphasised the need for more research and adoption of new technologies in the agriculture sector to produce good quality products on a large scale.
Agriculture, Mr Motingwa pointed out, had the potential to empower and improve the lives of Batswana. He thereofre encouraged them to take agriculture seriously and reduce import bill.
He said Botswana had a small population but vast land that could be exploited for agricultural purposes to produce enough food for the country and the outside market.
Though the country is faced with water shortage, Mr Motingwa said various technologies available could be utilised to use water sparingly and produce food.
He said agriculture extension officers should guide and advise farmers accordingly because there was need to interface with farmers and sensitise them on how best to produce quality products and increase yield.
To achieve long term food security, Mr Motingwa said it was important to plan for eventualities such as drought.
He said agriculture presented one of the biggest opportunities for job creation, however adding that it was important not to view agriculture only in terms of its job creation potential since the sector could also help in aggressively growing the economy and bringing in foreign revenue.
Mr Motingwa expressed appreciation for government's commitment to develop infrastructure such as roads and electricity reticulation in agricultural production areas.
This, he said would add impetus to the continuing efforts to enhance production.
"We need to produce our own food, preserve it and add value to it and to be self-sufficient," he said.
Mr Motingwa said keeping up with new ways of ploughing, growing, breeding and harvesting would re-define agriculture.
He said challenges like global warming and demands due to growing populations should propel farmers to do more especially that business opportunities were abundant across the sector.
Experienced farmers, he said should mentor young ones to ensure their ventures became sustainable and also encouraged them to work as a collective.
He pledged P10 000 to be used by Makoro farmers committee for min-shows. The show was themed: Attain Food Security Through Efficient Agricultural Production and Centralise Marketing.
Source : BOPA