Lobatse — Minister of Agriculture Development and Food Security, Dr Edwin Dikoloti, has called on industry players to collaborate on manufacturing of innovative farming technologies aimed at improving food production in Botswana.
Speaking on June 2 when touring Flo-Tek factories in Lobatse and Ramotswa, Dr Dikoloti said Botswana had over the years spent millions of Pula on importation of equipment for the farming sector.
He therefore urged big companies like Flo-Tek to work closely with government organisations like the Botswana University of Natural Resources (BUAN) and Botswana Agriculture Marketing Board (BAMB) to research and development products for the local farming market.
"One thing that we really need to develop which has eluded us for a long period of time is how we can better harvest our rain water. Flo-Tek have very good innovation technologies which I believe can be useful to our farmers. Shortage of water is one of the hindrances to farming in our country," he said.
The minister also asked for collaboration between the company and the two government organisations on production of livestock traceability ear tags.
Dr Dikoloti further asked Flo-Tek and BUAN to assist in the development of a model for the fishery sub sector development.
"We have promised Batswana that we would fully fund fishery. But we need a model for fisheries that can be adopted and used in urban areas. Another thing that I really want you to do is to collaborate on the development of a prototype for hydroponics," he said.
He said collaboration between the three organisations would lead to creation of more jobs in the agriculture manufacturing industry.
The managing director of Flo-Tek Mr Vijay Naik said his company currently employed more than 650 people in Lobatse and Ramotswa. He said they mainly manufacture plumbing and irrigation products and export to the southern Africa market which has around 242 million people.
"I am proud to say we are one of the largest exporter from Botswana as far as manufacturing is concerned. I strongly believe that if we put proper strategies together as a country, then growing the manufacturing sector in Botswana is not difficult," he said.
Mr Naik said they had partnered with an Israeli company called Netafim since 2003. He said Netafim were the largest irrigation system manufacturer in the world and have invented technologies like the drip irrigation system.
"The reason why I partnered with them was because we are a water scarce country. If we want to use water in Botswana for farming purposes we must use the best technologies. That is why we brought the drip irrigation system in 2003. We need to take technology forward and see how we can grow and create employment and be a self-sustainable country in terms of food security," Mr Naik said.
Source : BOPA