On Friday the National Development Bank(NDB) invited the media fraternity for a tour of some selected commercial arable farming projects at Mosisedi farms in the Borolong area.
The Mosisedi farms are mostly Batswana of young and middle ages. Their efforts are simply breath-taking. A combination of passion, dedication, hard work and high level of productivity reins at Mosisedi. They are simply serious, large-scale farmers who spend millions of Pula throughout the year to prepare their soils, and produce high crop yields. It is common for a farmer there to reap thousand of tonnes of maize on a good season, thanks to their scientific approach to farming. However Mosisedi farms are also a stark contrast to Pandamatenga farms in terms of government commitment.While Pandamatenga farms benefit from robust government investment in infrastructure such as electricity, aircrafts for spraying of pesticides, and more, the Mosisedi farms have no access to primary infrastructure such as electricity, and reliable water supply source, such as wells from which they could be assisted to embark on irrigation.
As it is many of farmers spend huge amounts of funds from their pockets trying to look for alternative sources of under ground water to cushion them from the harsh desert conditions . Food security cannot be left to chance. It should be a deliberate strategy and efforts by government to assist those farmers with passion, dedication and the scientific know-how, to help Botswana reach self-sufficiency in food.
First however government should admit that agriculture is a very expensive undertaking that cannot be shouldered by the farmers alone. Having spent over 500 million in Pandamatenga’s infrastructural development, government is expected to readily and speedily acknowledge and act upon the primary infrastructural challenges of the farmers of the south, as by and large the Mosisedi farms have the same challenges that the Pandamatenga farms used to grapple with early on.
Government should be careful not to create a situation whereby it is seen as readily available and willing to fund infrastructure in Pandamatenga, yet reluctant to do the same for the Mosisedi. The Mosisedi indeed deserve to be seen as special cases, where for the first time a high number of citizens are actively involved in food production at a large scale. That alone should be enough to arouse government’s passion and dedication for this new group of successful citizen commercial farmers.