Botswana: Agriculture Can Advance Economic Growth

Serowe — Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Mr Fidelis Molao, has said agriculture has the potential to advance the country's economic growth.

This he said was achievable provided there was increased adoption of new technologies by farmers across all sector.

The Shashe West legislator was speaking at Serowe Agricultural Trade and Exhibition show on August 9.

He said government's plan was to turn agriculture into a fully-fledged commercialised and diversified sector.

He noted that over the past years, it was through agriculture that the country had a remarkable economic transformation as it contributed some percentage the country's Gross Domestic Product, hence a need to stimulate economic diversification in order to provide a cushion should the minerals run out.

He therefore encouraged farmers to take lead in the economic diversification drive through the promotion and implementation of various agricultural technologies such as climate smart agriculture.

These, he said would help develop and improve the agricultural sector output which he said could help to facilitate the reduction of food import bill and also boost employment opportunities.

He said through new technologies, farmers could improve the agricultural production especially cattle production since it was considered the mainstay of the country's economy.

In support of economic diversification, Mr Molao said the agriculture ministry had come up with several initiatives geared towards the improvement of agricultural output to increase production and diversify the local agricultural products across markets as it was mandated to improve food security and champion agricultural developments.

He said government had pu in place programmes such as Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agriculture Development (ISPAAD) and Livestock Management and Infrastructure Development (LIMID) to promote agricultural output, and tangible results over the years had been realised.

He said the aim of agriculture exhibition shows were to serve as an eye opener to aspiring farmers to be able to share ideas and skills to improve their farming skills in order to increase production.

Minister added that farmers could, through the shows, acquire more knowledge like on small stock and cattle diseases, handling of machinery and stock theft prevention.

Mr Molao said agovernment was committed to supporting farmers who have passion and dedication.

He encouraged organizers of the event to grow it to become one of the Agro-Tourism events.

"Farming needs dedication, commitment and passion and people need to differentiate between people who like farming and adventurer farmers," he said.

He commended farmers that their engagement in farming was not only about producing food but they were aware of their role as a critical engine of growth, providing raw materials to the industry driving the economy.

He noted that what they were doing was not only about improving the economy of the country but most importantly about restoring the country's pride.

Mr Molao said late rains this year had affected crops, vegetation and the water situation.

He urged farmers to adopt best practices to optimise production.

Source : BOPA

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