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Young Farmers Look To Agri-Tech Solutions

PAULINE DIKUELO
Maize plants. PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
Botswana Young Farmers Association has called for the introduction of agricultural technology as another way of transforming the economy.

Speaking to BusinessMonitor, the association’s chair Karabo Molefe called for the change of mindset in agricultural business and for farmers to be ready to venture into value chain.

He said it is time to diversify the economy with agriculture as the s has the potential to sustain the economy.

“It is important to even come up with seeds that are drought-tolerant. We should start ploughing crops that are drought resistant and promote our own seeds and organic fertilisers.

We also need to use local raw materials to produce organic fertilisers because our soil is either alkaline or acidic,” he said.

According to Molefe, some parastatals have to change their funding structures and model them around the production capacity rather than age, which is mostly the case.

He urged government to address overall socioeconomic and biophysical limits to broad-based agricultural productivity growth to generate income and employment multipliers for all the social groups including youth.

Further, he said government should play a role in harnessing and maximising youth specific strengths for the agricultural transformation process like areas where youth engagements may have cooperative agricultural enterprise such as the use of information and communication technology.

“There is need to address youth specific constraints limiting young people’s

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engagement in agriculture and their ability to build successful agribusinesses,” he said, adding,  ”We empower young people to effectively participate in the formulation and implementation of agricultural transformation strategies.

This is necessary to ensure the transformation agenda aligns with the future that young people envision for themselves.”  He, however, applauded government for playing a role in ensuring that young farmers own feedlots that are registered to direct markets, which he said will create more jobs and open more markets for animal feed production.

“The ability to sell outside Botswana and compete with Botswana Meat Commission affords young farmers an opportunity to explore, produce quality as well as equip them to be ready for any market,” he said.

The association is committed to improve the lives of young farmers by enhancing youth participation in agriculture production and growth to ensure food security.

They also intend to be the key drivers in the growth and inclusion of youth agri-businesses by promoting value chain development through participation and growth of young farmers and developing sustainable programmes to ascertain achievement of their goals.

Some of their proposed projects include organic production, irrigation expansion as well as participatory integrated land use and management planning.



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