North East launches agric project
04 Apr 2023
Government projects such as ISPAAD and DIVAGRI have been hailed as a step in the right direction towards attaining food security.
North East agricultural coordinator, Mr Gwidzilano Maphosa said during the launch of DIVAGRI project at Impala Research Centre recently that North East District had a relatively small land for farming, but had agricultural projects with high potential to promote and enhance human life.
DIVAGRI (Revenue Diversification Parthways in Africa through bio-based and Circular Agricultural Innovations) project is a project aimed at aiding small and upcoming farmers with business solutions to sustainably improve on farming productivity.
Mr Maphosa said researches hilighted that farmers generally were lagging behind in adoption of modern farming systems, adding that some farmers believed that fertilizers bred new weeds.
He encouraged farmers to consider using rippers even though they needed heavy drought power.
He said farmers lagged behind in the use of new technologies, siting the uptake of napier grass production, which government advocates for.
He said programmes such as ISPAAD, LIMID, subsidy on livestock feeds during drought were also underutilised, adding that they did not market their harvest enough after harvesting.
As such implored them to go commercial and reap the benefits of their hard work.
He said low yield mostly came about as a result of farmers failing to apply what they learnt from veterinary and field officers.
He however said North East District vegetation and terrain were mostly bushy, rocky, and its steams crisscrossing fields, which contributed to erosion of top soil nutritious to vegetation and crops.
He said some fields were also sandy, which resulted in water logging and suffocation of crops and in some instances were difficult to access during rainy seasons, resulting in farmers missing out on the moisture needed for planting.
A farmer from Tonota, Mr Stephen Pillar appreciated government programmes geared towards food security, adding that agriculture was the backbone of the country’s economy.
He said farmers were key to economic development because they ensure steady food supply and created employment.
He rebuked farmers who failed to utilise ISPAAD to the optimum, as some ploughed and failed to look after their farms while others were never present to see the ploughing process through, which ended with tractor owners not tilling and ploughing to required standard.
He implored farmers to embrace mindset change to be able to produce quality yields.
He said ploughing without having tested the soil or adding fertilizers contributed to low yields.
To turn around farming potential, he called for close partnerships between farmers, field and veterinary officers.
He said training farmers and availing funds for implements could help address challenges and improve agriculture sector’s contributions to food security.
DIVAGRI project is funded by European Union. It involves five African countries being Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa and Ghana.
There are also participating European countries being Germany, Austria, Turkey, Bulgaria and North Macedonia.
In Botswana, the DIVAGRI project is under BUAN and National Agricultural Research and Development Institute.
The project, which will be running for five years, will be coordinated by Prof. Mmolawa from Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resouces. ENDS
Source : BOPA
Author : Gaseitsiwe Moruakgomo
Location : Francistown
Event : Meeting
Date : 04 Apr 2023