Ramotswa — Government is working on an accelerated subsidy programme to address the shortfall in local fish production, Assistant Minister of Agriculture Development and Food Security, Ms Beauty Manake has revealed.
She was speaking in an interview on the sidelines of the weekly cabinet and presidential COVID-19 task team meetings held at The Escapade by James in Boatle.
Through the programme, Ms Manake said, government intended to grow local fish production from the current three per cent to 70 per cent.
"It is an impact acceleration subsidy programme geared towards improving local fish production," Ms Manake said.
She said if properly implemented, the programme would be able to grow the local market to meet demand and eventually prepare farmers for the export market.
Further, she said it would close the food security gap.
Ms Manake said the target was to have at least 20 fish farmers assisted adding that currently there were three known fish farmers in the country.
Ms Manake said fish farming provided a rare opportunity for locals especially since it did not require large chunks of land.
Meanwhile, Mr Tshepo Keakile, who runs The Escapade by James together with his wife Khumo, said fishery was a good business which did not require a lot of inputs.
Mr Keakile said the fish business model encompassed three aspects including social, commercial as well as providing other fish farmers with knowledge.
For her part, Ms Keakile said The Escapade by James, which started operating last year, also offered boat cruising, horse riding, camping, conferencing and weddings among others.
She said their business, which included Tarshy's Royal Gardens, had been severely affected by COVID-19.
Ms Keakile appealed for government's intervention to have banks accommodate businesses affected by COVID-19.