Botswana: Benchmarking Critical in Farming - Kgosi

Esther Mmolai — Ngamiland community has been advised to benchmark good farming practices in order to produce high yields and assist the country in food security.

This was said by Kgosi Oateng Setlhodi of Chanoga recently in an interview, explaining that COVID-19 had taught many a lesson that they should stand on their feet, work hard for the country to improve food security and reduce import bill.

Agriculture, he said, had the potential to be the growth engine of the country's economy as well as provide livelihood and sustenance to many farmers and rural communities.

He stated that in his area of jurisdiction, there were many professional farmers who practiced medium to large-scale farming and urged passionate farmers to come and benchmark with them.

Some locals, the traditional leader said, owned big portions of land, which could be fully utilised to feed the nation if they applied good farming methods. Kgosi Setlhodi underscored the need to take agriculture seriously, stating that farmers should utilise their land productively to ensure adequate food supply.

He acknowledged that traditionally, Ngamiland communities were more into cattle farming and tourism businesses while a few practiced subsistence arable farming, but stressed that time had come to think outside the box.

Arable farming, he said, was an alternative to diversifying the local economy and urged communities to take advantage of the early rains to utilise their idling fields. Kgosi also appreciated that some local farmers were known for molapo (river bank) farming, which had proved to be sustainable and profitable.

Molapo farming has proven to be the best in terms of production as compared to dry land framing.

In Chanoga, Kgosi Setlhodi said some poverty eradication beneficiaries had taken advantage of early rains and ploughed three hectares of maize and water melons while on the other part of the farm, they ploughed vegetables at a plot commonly known as Nyeletso lehuma square.

The community owned 12 hectares of land after Kgosi Setlhodi requested it from the government with the aim to start sustainable projects that could better the lives of women.

The community, through a collaboration with the department of agriculture, started a horticulture pilot project at the area following the decision by the Office of the President to identify six villages, where the project could be piloted under Poverty Eradication Programme.

Kgosi Setlhodi implored communities to take advantage of government initiatives, adding that government was striving to make the country self-sufficient in the production of food through incentives such as ISPAAD.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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