Matshelagabedi — Minister of Food Security and Agricultural Development, Mr Karabo Gare says the COVID-19 pandemic has derailed government's plan to develop Batswana.
Speaking at an event to donate a ram to Mr Solomon Senyane and his wife Ms Elizabeth of Matshelagabedi on behalf of President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi last Thursday, Mr Gare said many plans were shelved due to the pandemic.
He said the huge deficit that was experienced in the last financial year was due to the effects of COVID-19, adding that the country had expected P20 billion from diamond revenue, but that minerals only managed to earn P6.7 million.
Mr Gare said the country was making efforts to diversify the economy from minerals and to come up with other revenue streams.
He said President Masisi's initiative to donate rams and bucks to deserving farmers sought to close the food security gaps in the country.
Mr Gare also urged Batswana to engage in food production in order to cut the import bill and create employment.
He also advised farmers in Matshelagabedi to utilise the Impala Rural Training Centre.
Minister Gare, who is also the MP for Moshupa/Manyana constituency, said research had shown that the small stock industry had good returns with lucrative markets in Asia and Norway.He appealed to the Senyane family to take care of the ram and to put it to good use.
The President's initiative, he said, sought to make Botswana a land of small stock production.
For his part, Mr Senyane said he was motivated to engage in farming with more vigour and to improve his breed.
With fewer sheep than goats, he said he was grateful for the donation and promised to put it to good use.
The 86-year-old appealed to President Masisi to extend the initiative to other deserving Batswana in order to help fight poverty.
In his welcome remarks, Kgosi Oganne Polson of Matshelagabedi urged Batswana, especially the youth, to utilise government policies and programmes.
He said the initiative was a welcome development that should be embraced and supported by every Motswana.
He added that it came at the right time when the country was faced with many challenges, especially the COVOID-19 pandemic.Area MP and tertiary education minister, Dr Douglas Letsholathebe appealed to the village leadership and the beneficiaries to look after the ram, saying if properly taken care of it would produce quality stock.
Source : BOPA