Gaborone — Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) has seen an increase in its revenue which has grown by 39 per cent.
Briefing the media, on December 3, to share the 2019/2020 second quarter financial update and their planting season expectations, BAMB CEO, Mr Leonard Morakaladi said there has also been an increase in grain purchase which was driven by sorghum above all other grains as it increased by 32 per cent.
He noted that sorghum was the largest contributor in quantity and monetary value, followed by pulses.
"In this quarter the monetary value of sorghum stands at 73 per cent and a total of 87 per cent purchases of sorghum," he said.
Mr Morakaladi further said there has been a 43 per cent seed purchases and food bought in central region as at November 29, 2019.
He, however, said there was a 77 per cent decrease in maize purchase due to the drought.
He also said BAMB aimed at having a yearly increase to close the national food production requirement gap."We have signed a memorandum of agreement with the horticulture sector in an attempt to increase knowledge and technologies to enhance food security and safety through good agricultural practices," he said.
He added that by signing the memorandum they were working on strengthening and capacitating horticulture farmers and also establishing and implementing national cropping production.
Mr Morakaladi highlighted that BAMB had joined hands with ISPAAD to ensure an increase in grain production, promote food security and commercial agriculture through technology.
"The national estimated cereal production for the past season was 66 093 tonnes which represents 22 per cent of the national cereal requirement and we believe we can do more," he said.
Furthermore, Mr Morakaladi said BAMB had signed commodity prices and production contracts. He said by May 2020 white maize would be sold for P2 000 and yellow maize sold for P 1900, with sunflower at P3 280.
He advised farmers in Kgalagadi region, Tswapong and Bobirwa areas to plant beans and peanuts and for southern region farmers to plough maize.
Mr Morakaladi also recommended the use of drought tolerant and short season varieties.
Agronomy manager, Mr Lambani Obuseng introduced the 'New News' app for farmers used for nutritional detection.
"With this app, you take a picture of the crops and send it to cloud which then recommends the right fertilizer to use for the crops," he explained.
He said in the past farmers would take crop leaves to the laboratory for testing and wait for recommendations to be made which took time, hence the importance of the app.
Source : BOPA