Government is reportedly implementing reforms meant to rejuvenate the agricultural sector and restore it to its glory days when it was the mainstay of the national economy.
This was revealed by President Mokgweetsi Masisi at the recent Serowe District Agriculture Show, when he announced that technology and new farming methods will be employed to capacitate the agriculture sector to create jobs, generate revenue and ensure national food security.
“As a nation we must reflect on how much we have fared in food production, job creation and economic sustainability. We must revamp the agriculture sector because it is the gateway to food security, health and citizen empowerment,” he said.
Masisi also announced that the Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agriculture Development (ISPAAD) has been modified to encourage commercial farming and facilitate greater output.
He added that ISPAAD will henceforth reward citizens according to their agricultural output.
“It’s time for Batswana to start appreciating that agriculture is a business. ISPAAD will also require soil testing to ensure that the right crops are being ploughed on the right soils.
To ease congestion at the central laboratory, government will outsource soil testing services to the private sector,” he said.
He added that government would exploit the presence of fibre optic cables throughout the country to roll out new farming technologies such as the Botswana Animal Information and Traceability System (BAITS). To facilitate easier rollout, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has partnered with the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development to train youth entrepreneurs to open and operate BAITS Cafes throughout the country.
“60 youth-owned BAITS Cafes will soon be operating throughout the country. Another 20 independently operated BAITS Cafes have also been rolled out. We are in the process of training 600 youth who will roll out FTTx technology to various farms in the country,” Masisi said.
He urged Batswana to embrace innovation and technology as they have potential to revolutionise food production in Botswana.
Masisi also announced that Botswana has adopted the use of artificial insemination and embryo transfer technology to improve the quality and quantity of the national herd.