Botswana: Agric Viable Undertaking - Farmer

Matsaudi — Mr Tlamelo Molefe and wife Kgadimo of Maun desire to prove that commercial agriculture is viable in Ngamiland.

The couple owns a 10-hectare farm in the outskirt of Matsaudi where they practice integrated farming.

They own a tractor and plough every year, despite challenges posed by elephants.

Currently, the family has ploughed six hectares

It has also ventured into Tswana chicken and guinea fowl rearing as well as small stock production.

The couple now intends to start horticulture and irrigation farming, though still working on logistics to have water rights to source water from the river.

Mr Molefe, a former teacher, explained that agriculture was a lucrative business.

"I started ploughing one hectare for subsistence in 2010 and the hectares increased with time because farming seemed viable. I managed to feed my family and sell the surplus, even though the market was small," he added.

Although, he decried low prices at the Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB), he said that did not discourage him, since he found a niche in supplying some primary schools.

Mr Molefe wished young people could embrace agriculture in order to be gainfully employed and contribute to national food self-sufficiency.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic had taught many a lesson that they should trace their roots and venture into agricultural activities and ensure food security.

He stated that it was a disgrace that most young people were reluctant to invest into agricultural activities and yet they were struggling to secure jobs.

Mr Molefe said young people should benchmark from their elders and other serious farmers, adding that the time had come for them to take over.

He also appreciated government's commitment to developing the agricultural sector as well as motivating young people to embrace it.

He said President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi's pronouncement to fast track land allocation for commercial agriculture and his small stock initiative were a welcome development.

Ms Molefe concurred that young people shun agriculture because they view it as a dirty and labour intensive undertaking, despite the good returns.

She said agriculture was the way to go nowadays, as securing a job was not easy.

She encouraged youth to take advantage of the available programmes such as LIMID, ISPAAD and Youth Development Fund to start agricultural projects.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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