Farmers urged to grow more drought-resistant crops

JWANENG: With low rains anticipated in the coming ploughing season, farmers have been encouraged to plant more legumes than grains.

The Ministry of Agriculture principal crops officer, Maria Tsamaase said this at the launch on Tuesday of a project called Letsema by Steve n Lesedi Farmville.  The launch brought together stakeholders in the farming community who included farmers, suppliers of seeds, herbicides, animal feeds and financiers.  

Tsamaase said legumes such as beans have the potential to survive poor rainfall than grains such as maize.  She encouraged the farmers to adapt row planting rather than the traditional broadcasting method and further utilise the Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agriculture Development (ISPAAD) programme that seeks to increase food security in the country.

She said this year they have registered 4,656 farmers who wish to partake in the programme in the Jwaneng-Mabutsane constituency.

In his remarks, the Member of Parliament for Jwaneng-Mabutsane, Shawn Ntlhaile said his constituency has the potential to feed the country and become an agricultural hub. 

He credited the owners of Steve n Lesedi Farmville, which operates as a distributor of fertilisers, animal feeds and seeds, for organising an empowerment and skills sharing session. He said such a platform is vital for mutual relationships between the farmers, suppliers and financial institutions.

Ntlhaile also encouraged farmers to soldier on despite the anticipated low rains.

The Vice chairman of Maiteko Farmers Association, Mabalane Maboane explained that their aim is to bring farmers together and share skills and experiences.

He said their intention is to encourage the young and the old to adopt agri-business and turn it into a full time job. Maboane mentioned that they also aim to bring arable and animal farmers together to strategise on how they could diversify the economy.

Furthermore, the association has registered a burial society where they intend to help farmers have dignified funerals.

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