Metlobo — Farmers have been advised to prepare well in advance for the ploughing season.
Speaking in an interview following an agricultural community service day in Metlobo on Saturday, Mmathethe/Molapowabojang legislator, Dr Edwin Dikoloti said an early start would enable a farmer to plan and structure implementation thereby ensuring successful or better yields.
Planning would help limit unnecessary delays and stoppages during the implementation phase, said Dr Dikoloti, who is also health and wellness minister.
He said early ploughing also secured soil moisture thereby preventing crop failure.
The minister said timing was important because should there be a long period between ploughing and sowing, weeds would regrow, leading to the land needing to be ploughed a second time.
The best time to plough, he said, was shortly after rain when the soil was moist but not too wet.
Dr Dikoloti warned against ploughing a dry field saying it could encourage wind erosion with serious consequences.
Stating that delays resulting from equipment malfunction could be costly, he said farmers should master dozens of skills including routine farm machinery repair and maintenance to avoid wasting valuable time and favourable weather conditions.
Dr Dikoloti said imparting skills to farmers would go a long way in transforming lives and enhancing food security in Botswana.
As part of the day's activities, African Agriculture's Agricultural Equipment Service Centre provided servicing of tractors and other farming implements free of charge.
In a separate interview, the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security's Mr Brian Mhaladi said 1 868 hectares were ploughed year in and out in the Metlobo extension area with 74 tractors registered.
He encouraged the farming community to employ modern technologies and apply appropriate methodologies to increase production. Stressing the importance of eating nutritional food, Mr Mhaladi said farmers should also focus on nutrition.
School going children did well academically if they ate well, he stated.About the Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agriculture Development (ISPAAD), he said it was introduced to address challenges facing arable farmers and the inherent low productivity of the sub sector.
Mr Mhaladi said through the programme, the ministry spent P78 million in the Mmathethe/Molapowabojang constituency during the 2019/20 ploughing season.
He stressed the need to strike a balance between the amount of money spent and the yield.
Mr Mhaladi said smart agriculture remained paramount to revolutionise the agricultural sector and transform the economy as well as improve food production.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>