Gaborone — Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB), Tuesday entered into a Memorandum of Understading (MoU) with Botswana Horticulture Council (BoHOCO) in a bid to improve the country's food security.
Speaking during the signing ceremony in Gaborone, BAMB chief executive officer Mr Leonard Morakaladi said the agreement would help the two organisatìons to spread their wings in Botswana and ultimately beyond its borders.
The agreement would be based on providing market access and knowledge which he said was working well in countries such as Namibia.
Mr Morakaladi said his organisation would assist vegetable producers with new technology for controlling pests such as the use of spraying drones where farmers could not reach.
For his part, BoHOCO chairman, Mr Boikaego Phole said the council's mandate was to bring together horticulture farmers and create a common place for them to sell their produce.
He said BoHOCO had written to government requesting the establishment of an independent organisation specifically dealing with horticulture produce and its destination from the farm.
The organisation, he said, was in the process of formulating a cropping plan for its members to help them to know what to plant, when and what type of fertiliser was needed and for which plants.
Mr Phole further said they were working around the clock to enter into agreements with different stakeholders in order to bring services nearer to their members.
Responding to a question on food safety and monitoring of irrigated produce, Mr Phole said the organisation intended to ensure that horticulture producers provided the best produce to the nation.
He said there were over 1 000 horticulture producers in Botswana but only around 500 had joined BoHOCO and therefore subscribed to set standards.
Mr Phole said a lot of farmers farming along the Notwane River were not BoHOCO members.
The organisation addressed its members to ensure they gave Batswana the best products which were also safe for consumption, he said.
For monitoring purposes, Mr Phole said BoHOCO had identified two places in Lobatse and Francistown where all the produce produced by members would be tested and sold.
Source : BOPA