Farmers have been urged to insure their produce and products to help them attain their dreams of practising sustainable commercial farming.
Addressing Botswana Young Farmers Association (BYFA) recently, Advice Fele of the Botswana Insurance Company (BIC) said they have policies that cater to farmers.
“Insurance is very important even in farming as we cover livestock, crop production, damages done by fire, natural disasters as well as the equipment that is used in farming,” he said.
BIC also has policies like herd select insurance that covers theft, all risk mortality as well as goods in transit. Other products tailor-made for farmers include feedlots insurance cover as well as crop insurance, which covers against fire, lighting, floods and windstorm amongst others.
According to BYFA secretary, Rapula Kegopilwe farmers need to start commercialising agriculture thus promoting food sustainability. He revealed that currently the country imports P6 billion worth of agricultural produce both raw and processed.
Kegopilwe said agriculture contributes P2 billion to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), which is mostly dominated by beef adding that the value of agriculture in the country is P8 billion.
“We want to affirm the agricultural sector as an avenue for the economic diversification driver because its contribution to the GDP has been declining
He said as an association, they have a 2030 strategic plan, which aims to empower and grow youth in agriculture thus promoting value chain development. He also said they want to ensure food security by promoting and developing agripreneurship in the complete value chain.
Kegopilwe said a majority of farmers are small-scale who need continuous training and engagements. In addition, he said farmers need to develop farming and commercialise it.
He said the country is also faced with erratic rainfall and poor soils that affect production.BYFA has also embarked on projects that include capacity building where they would be offering agripreneurship acceleration programmes, incubation as well as mentorship that aim at helping small-scale farmers.
“Our aim is to boost national production by 30% in three years by developing mainly horticulture and crop production. We also want to reduce farmers’ youth agricultural project failure rate by 50%,” he said.
He said they have developed models that need P50 million to be implemented. Other projects include organic production, irrigation expansion as well as participatory integrated land use and management.